Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume6 Chapter3

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Chapter 3 - Nepenthes Lore[edit]

Part 1[edit]

After making simple preparations, Kamito and Claire set off quickly.

They traveled light, keeping their load to a minimum. Est also transformed back to sword form at Kamito's waist. Entering a dormant state and completely cutting off her consciousness, she could not awaken by her own will without Kamito's infusion of divine power.

The guide spirit hovered lightly in the air -- a mass of weak flame before the two of them.

As long as they followed it, they would not get lost even within the forest.

"H-Hey, Kamito..."

"Hmm?"

Claire tried to start a conversation with Kamito who was walking in front.

"Umm... N-Nothing..."

"Hmm, is that so..."

Then conversation went dead.

...Repeating for who knows how many times. Starting from a while back, her efforts always followed this model.

(...~Seriously, what is going on with me!?)

Claire knew very well the reason was herself. Overly self-conscious about being alone with Kamito, it had become impossible for her to talk casually with him as usual.

(...Kamito, would you think I'm acting strange?)

She gave a quick glance at the figure walking before her--

Kamito looked completely nonchalant... This was slightly maddening.

(However, being able to team up with Kamito, truly is...)

In actual fact, the only time when Claire monopolized Kamito was the first few days after they met.

Disregarding Kamito's contracted spirit Est, there was Fianna who had moved in as Claire's roommate in the female dorms not long after that. On top of that, Kamito had also been recruited by the Sylphid Knights, which meant he had to participate in the Knights' work in addition to their morning meetings, further reducing the time he had for Claire.

Furthermore, at dinner time every day, Rinslet would "accidentally cook too much" and bring the food to the room to share with everyone.

--Ever since the Blade Dance festival began, Claire and Kamito's time alone had been reduced more and more.

(B-But, only now it is different...)

Also, even though the reason was suitability for the negotiation role, Kamito did indeed choose Claire as his partner to venture forth... Simply this fact was enough to make her overjoyed.

(If only I c-could be slightly more honest...)

As they went on their way, she quietly gazed at Kamito's back--

"--Wah!"

Suddenly, she found her foot entangled by something smooth and slippery.

"...Claire!?"

Kamito suddenly looked back.

There was a small snake around her foot.

Kamito swiftly bent down, grabbed the snake by its head and threw it away in the forest.

"You okay? Were you bitten?"

"I-I'm okay... Just had a little fright."

"...You're afraid of snakes?"

"I-I'm not afraid! ...I just don't like them."

Claire diverted her gaze, her face all red.

"...Isn't that the same thing? Anyway, can you stand up?"

Kamito grabbed Claire's hand and helped her up from the ground.

"Ah, yes... Thank you."

Her heart was pounding within her chest. Even without a mirror she knew her face must be burning red like having a fever.

...She felt so embarrassed that she could not look Kamito in the face.

"Then let's continue--"

Kamito released her hand and was about to start walking--

"Ah, w-wait up!"

At this time, Claire chased after Kamito and grabbed his hand, gripping it tightly.

"...Claire?"

"...T-This is better."

"...Eh?"

"...I said this is better. Escorting the master is the slave's duty."

"H-Hey...!"

Holding Kamito's hand, Claire began to run quickly.

Kamito had no choice but to hurry and keep up with her.

(Uwahwah, seriously, what am I doing!?)

Due to her unintentionally bold behavior, Claire's face went completely red.

Part 2[edit]

Taking a short break along the way, Kamito and Claire continued making their way through the forest and finally reached the destination.

The fire spirit guiding them began to circle in one spot before some decrepit ruins.

These ruins probably dated back to the distant past, legendary times when the mainland and Astral Zero were still uniform -- the mythical age when this shrine was still in use. The walls had virtually all collapsed, and the only reason why it still managed to maintain some of its original shape was very likely thanks to those stone pillars embedded in the ground.

The other side of the ruins faced a cliff and one could hear the noisy rumbling of rapids.

"This should be the negotiation site--"

"The ruins of an ancient shrine. With a river nearby, this is quite an ideal environment for a stronghold."

"Hurry and look, here are traces of a built barrier."

Following the direction Claire indicated, Kamito found a stone pillar where a pattern resembling a crest was carved.

"...The sacred seal of the Principality of Rossvale. And very new too."

Claire murmured incredulously.

"However, there were no signs of a barrier activating when we entered, right?"

"...That's right. The barrier was destroyed. This place has already lost functionality as a stronghold."

"What happened?"

--The Rupture Division abandoned this stronghold?

Or instead--

"Hmm?"

Icy cold water drops fell upon Kamito's forehead.

"It's raining..."

Sheltering his eyes with one hand, he looked up to find the sky had filled with dark clouds without him noticing.

As raindrops fell pitter patter, it became a pouring shower within the blink of an eye.

"Uwah!"

"Is there no place to shelter from the rain?"

Claire draped her uniform jacket over her head and frantically surveyed the surroundings to find a cave beneath the cliff near the ruins. This was no natural hole but a place someone had dug out using the power of spirits.

"Over there, hurry!"

"Ah yeah..."

The two of them quickly ran towards the cave.

The cave ran deeper than imagined. It was completely dark inside. Claire chanted a spirit language incantation to light a small fire at her fingertip, thereby illuminating the uneven walls of rock.

The remnants of a campfire could be found in the cave.

"The Rupture Division apparently had a bonfire here."

"...In that case, let us make good use of it."

The two of them sat down by the campfire.

Claire brought the flame on her fingertip close and immediately lit the campfire.

"I didn't know rain was possible in this place."

Since Ragna Ys was above cloud level, one would not expect any rain--

On further thought, it would have been strange to have plants flourishing without rain. Furthermore, there was the existence of rivers and lakes.

"Ragna Ys doesn't always float above the clouds. We may not be able to tell while we're on the island but it does move according to a cycle. Currently, it must be beneath cloud level."

"...I see."

The downpour showed no signs of letting up.

Kamito and Claire were completely drenched.

"...Sigh. If the other negotiating party isn't present, it can't be helped."

Untying the ribbons on the ends of her twintails, Claire sighed.

"Even a trap would be a better situation than now."

"...Come to think of it, where would they go after abandoning their stronghold?"

Faced with Claire who had untied her ribbons to let down her hair--

"...!?"

Kamito was shocked.

(...T-This girl is too careless!?)

Her red hair looked exceptionally seductive when wet.

Illuminated by the glow of the campfire, her supple body displayed beautifully gentle contours.

As her drenched uniform clung tightly to her skin, the lace patterns of her underwear became vaguely visible.

"...Kamito, what is up with you?"

Claire asked with a puzzled expression, tilting her head.

Clearly she was unaware how attractive and tempting her current appearance was.

"Ah-- ...Umm, how should I put it..."

How on earth could he point it out, just as Kamito agonized--

"...Yah!?"

Claire finally noticed her appearance and frantically curled her drenched body into a ball.

"Ah, mmm, ah..."

Under usual circumstances, surely she would have started whipping him with Flametongue. However, this was not Kamito's fault this time, and Claire simply went into a panic with a blushing expression.

"--Achoo."

Claire sneezed adorably.

"If you remain wet, you're going to catch a cold."

"I-I know! Kamito, turn and face the other way!"

"A-Ah, right..."

Kamito turned and faced the wall, shutting his eyes.

Rustle rustle... Rustle.

Against the background noises of the intense downpour, the seductive sound of clothes sliding off the body seemed unnaturally loud.

...What the heck was with this sound of undressing right now?

Keeping his eyes closed, Kamito found it even harder to stop his imagination from running wild instead.

"I-It's okay now..."

Receiving permission, Kamito turned back towards Claire.

"I can open my eyes?"

"..."

"Claire?"

"Y-You can..."

A hesitant answer.

Kamito opened his eyes--

"...Wha!?"

Appearing before his eyes was a scene far too excessively stimulating for a boy of his age.

Stripped of her uniform, Claire was only wearing a single article of underwear.

Furthermore, it was simply a pair of very sheer lace panties. She was almost completely nude.

Her smooth skin, as white as snow, adorned by the bright crimson hair draped over her body, was quite an erotic sight to behold.

The only saving grace was the fiery hell cat she embraced against her chest to hide her topless state.

"Why, why are you looking like that..."

"T-This is the Scarlet Guard maneuver!"

Claire shifted her gaze as she displayed a shy expression.

"Never mind me, you should hurry and strip too!"

"...Me?"

"Do you intend to leave me as the only one in this embarrassing state?"

"A-Ah right, I got it..."

Glared at sharply, Kamito had no choice but to nod and agree.

Perhaps due to Claire's seductive appearance, his mind was probably in a total state of shock.

As Kamito took off his wet shirt, Claire's cheeks instantly blushed bright red completely.

Just as he was about to take off his pants--

"Yah--"

...A light scream was heard.

"Y-You're the one who told me to strip!"

"Uh, right... Sorry."

Underneath, Kamito was wearing half-pants that could be used as swimming trunks. Since he was dressed the same way for the purification ritual by the lake, a reason to be so surprised... Should not exist in theory.

"..."

"..."

Then for a period of time after, both were stuck in silence.

There remained only the noise of the campfire crackling away.

(W-What the heck. This embarrassing mood...!)

Gulping down a mouthful of air, Kamito furtively cast a glance towards Claire.

With her ribbons untied and hair down, Claire seemed to possess much more adult charms than usual.

Light reflected off the smooth skin of her neck. As soft as fresh snow, her gorgeous body seemed like it would melt at the mere touch of the finger. Having taken off her kneesocks, her thighs were so dazzling Kamito did not dare stare directly.

The fabric of her panties was also quite sheer and offered a slight glimpse of the luster of the wet skin beneath.

"...!?"

Shocked, Kamito intended to shift his gaze--

"Hey..."

"Hmm?"

"...Say something, find something interesting to talk about."

"That's really putting me at wits' end... How could I find something interesting to talk about, being asked so suddenly?"

Kamito answered in amazement.

For Kamito who had devoted his life to training for battle since childhood, asking him to chat and entertain a girl was a tall order indeed.

"Talk about anything you want. I'll be the one to decide if it's interesting or not."

"...Easier said than done. Oh... Got it, that time when I was patrolling the school grounds with Ellis--"

"Not allowed to talk about other girls. That's not interesting at all."

...Somehow making her displeased, Kamito was cut off as soon as he started.

"...What a willful young lady you are."

Kamito crossed his arms and racked his brains.

(An interesting topic, ah...)

Then -- Suddenly, he recalled.

In the past, when Kamito was still a young boy--

Every night, that person would tell him a bedtime story.

These stories, originating from a distant desert country, were so numerous it would take a thousand and one nights to tell them all.

Night after night, she would tell these stories to him. For Kamito's days as a young boy, this could be considered his only joy. Every time Kamito hassled her to tell these stories he liked, she would patiently recount them to him. Even now, he could still recite some of the content.

(That's all I can think of to talk about...)

Kamito coughed lightly and began to speak.

"A long long time ago, there was a spirit sealed in a lamp at a certain place--"

"Excuse me, Kamito..."

"...Yes?"

"I'm sorry but I already know this story. It's very famous on the mainland, you know?"

"I see..."

Come to think of it, Claire really loved reading... It was only natural for her to know the story.

Finding his treasured story rejected, Kamito could not think of any other tales to tell.

Surely, Claire would be interested in his experiences with that particular girl after escaping from the Instructional School. But bringing that subject up would inevitably lead to the incident three years ago.

"...Sorry. I'm out of ideas."

Kamito apologized honestly.

However, Claire did not seem particularly displeased, but smiled tenderly.

"A man who is too boring in conversation is no good, you know? Next time, try harder to prepare before your next date."

"Date?"

"...Ooh, n-no that's not it! I-I simply said something wrong by accident!"

Claire hugged Scarlet tightly, causing the cat to cry out in surprise.

"...The rain still hasn't stopped."

"Yeah..."

Claire sighed softly.

"After the Principality of Rossvale's team abandoned this place, where could they have gone?"

"Already eliminated by other teams -- perhaps?"

"Given the level of power of those members of the Rupture Division, do you really think they could be eliminated so quickly?"

"However, only if that happened would the alliance invitation make perfect sense. Perhaps not completely eliminated, but their team must be half destroyed, in a state where they have no choice but to ally with others--"

"Impossible, right..."

Suddenly, what surfaced in Kamito's mind was--

The image of Team Inferno's black knight mentioned in his group's discussion this morning.

Also, the darkness spirit girl who took action together with the black knight.

(Restia...)

Seeing Kamito's gaze fall upon his left hand, Claire asked observantly.

"Say, Kamito--"

"What?"

"About that girl, could you tell me more?"

"That girl?"

"Your former contracted spirit -- that darkness spirit girl."

"Didn't you say I'm not allowed to talk about other girls?"

"Only now do I allow you."

Kamito sighed lightly.

He shifted his gaze slightly from Claire's bare body that was being illuminated by the campfire's flames--

"She -- Restia was responsible for teaching me back at the Instructional School."

"Teaching... Combat skills?"

"No, she taught me everything -- Absolutely everything."

That's right, what she taught me was not limited to battle-related skills.

She also returned to Kamito something precious he had lost.

"Really... Is that all?"

Claire looked pleadingly at Kamito as she asked.

"What do you mean by that?"

"Umm, that is..."

Faced with Kamito's counter question, Claire stammered as if she was at a loss for words--

Resolving herself, she spoke up.

"T-That... K-Kissed, you must have done it with the darkness spirit girl."

"...Huh?"

Kamito's face twitched.

"Did you actually... S-See that!?"

He recalled what happened during the night of the ball held in the castle at Ragna Ys.

In order to search for Claire who had disappeared after an argument, he met Restia who had suddenly appeared in the garden.

"I wasn't peeking intentionally! I-It was just coincidence, at the courtyard by chance I saw..."

"Don't have strange misunderstandings, okay? I was ambushed by a surprise attack."

Kamito explained desperately... Why did it sound so much like an excuse?

"...However, you're quite obsessed with that girl."

"That's only natural. She is my precious contracted spirit."

"..."

--That's not right. Kamito knew very well himself.

As an elementalist, treasuring one's contracted spirit was of course perfectly natural--

But to Kamito, Restia was a special existence not only because she was his contracted spirit.

(She gave me light... Or rather, to me back then, she was the very light itself.)

Claire did not seem satisfied with Kamito's answer.

Unhappily, she pouted those cute lips of hers.

"So, how many times in total?"

"Eh?"

"...O-Of course I'm referring to kissing. How many times?"

"W-Why are you asking a question like that!?"

"As your master, it is naturally necessary for me to know about the slave's affairs."

Claire replied with her face all red.

"...Answer me honestly. How many times have you kissed?"

"...Who knows."

Kamito replied stiffly.

"What, you're trying to dodge the question?"

"Why must I answer this type of question?"

"T-That is... What, are you actually angry?"

"I am not angry."

"...Clearly you're angry."

Claire pouted, sulking a little.

Apparently, the young lady was displeased.

Speaking of which, Kamito never expected Claire to be so concerned about the matter of Restia.

Just earlier, she seemed so happy -- almost like the weather of this Ragna Ys.

Kamito sighed and looked out the cave.

Outside conditions were basically a storm. Violent winds were blowing and the rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance.

"...Thunder?"

Kamito suddenly looked up.

(--No wait, this isn't the sound of thunder!)

Listening carefully, he could hear the sound of blades clashing amidst the rumbling noises.

"--A blade dance in progress."

"What did you say?"

"The Rupture Division might be engaged in battle with others right now -- Hurry!"

Swiftly putting on his uniform that had yet to dry, Kamito grabbed the Demon Slayer resting against the wall and rushed out.

Part 3[edit]

Kamito and Claire equipped their elemental waffen as they ran.

In this storm, the sound of blades clashing was gradually getting closer.

The instant Kamito chopped down the tree before him, his view widened immediately.

An empty clearing in the forest--

"...!?"

A group of elementalists were collapsed on the ground.

The three girls' uniforms were very familiar -- that of Areishia Spirit Academy.

"They are Team Wyvern!?"

Claire exclaimed loudly as she caught up.

Likewise, they were representatives of Areishia Spirit Academy. A team formed from outstanding upperclassmen.

After Velsaria withdrew from the competition, these girls ascended to the spot of the Academy's top team.

The Ordesia Empire's most anticipated team.

But currently, three of them had fallen in this unusual situation.

Kamito instantly ran to the side of one of the upperclassman girls.

"...Hey, what happened here? Who defeated you?"

"Hmm... You're, that one from Raven Class, the male elementalist..."

The girl's lips quivered faintly. She was still conscious apparently.

"On the other side of these woods, our comrades are fighting--"

--Suddenly Kamito felt a terrifying sense of chill from behind.

The girl was pointing to the other side of the trees -- where a most ominous and frightening presence could be sensed.

"Kamito..."

"Yeah."

Kamito nodded lightly.

(...No doubt about it. It's that person's aura!)

The sound of swords clashing could be heard from the other side.

"Let's go... Est!"

Kamito released the power of the Demon Slayer all at once.

A dazzling silver-white glow emanated from the sword's blade.

Cutting down all the trees that lay in his path, he exited the forest--

Entering his view was a knight wielding a black sword to attack a girl.

Expressionless, eyes flashing red, the pitch black knight -- Nepenthes Lore.

Kamito rushed forward without hesitation, performing a full-powered attack at the black knight.

A sharp metallic impact. Scattering sparks.

In that very instant, the black knight's sword was deflected slightly, embedding itself into the ground mere inches away from the girl's body.

The afterglow of the black knight's red gaze shifted towards Kamito.

(...I knew it, this is no ordinary elementalist!)

In order to protect the collapsed girl, Kamito readied his sword in both hands.

Just behind the black knight, there was another collapsed girl in the same Areishia uniform.

(...To have single-handedly defeated five elite elementalists!?)

Team Wyvern's girls were the highest level elementalists at the Academy.

Their abilities were definitely no less than Claire and the girls--

"Kamito, stop taking action all on your own!"

Using Flametongue to burn away the trees in the forest, Claire arrived at the battlefield. She shuddered at the sight of the black knight, but instantly she understood the situation and circled around to a position where she could launch a pincer attack in concert with Kamito.

"Cough... The male elementalist, as well as the sister of the Calamity Queen..."

Behind him, the upperclassman girl protected by Kamito was moaning painfully.

Clearly he was here to protect her group, yet her eyes glared hatefully at him.

"This is my affection as a fellow representative of the Academy. I'm here to help your team, Senpai."

Kamito spoke stiffly as he glared at the black knight before him.

Even though the girls were fellow representatives of the Ordesia Empire, this did not imply they were his comrades exactly.

Nevertheless, he could not stand back and watch fellow students from the Academy being tormented so one-sidedly.

"Your help is not needed!"

"...I see. Oh well, think of this as us starting a blade dance on our own then."

As he faced off against the black knight, Kamito calmly assessed the surrounding terrain.

On the right side was the forest Kamito just exited. The left side was a massive cliff.

The thunderous sound of a waterfall could be heard coming from the bottom of the cliff. Although it was impossible to confirm visually from this position, surely falling down the cliff would be fatal.

(...A fight near the cliff would put me at a great disadvantage.)

Although Kamito was highly skilled with sword techniques, his arm strength was clearly inferior to the enemy's.

In a direct confrontation, he would probably be suppressed completely.

(In that case, this next attack will decide the outcome of the battle--)

Pouring divine power into the Demon Slayer, Kamito leaped from the muddy ground.

"I'm relying on you, Est!"

As Kamito rushed forward, at the same time--

"I'll turn you into charcoal!"

Claire attacked with Flametongue.

Through their training at the Academy, Kamito and Claire's coordination with each other had already improved dramatically.

Infused with scorching flames of conflagration, Flametongue wrapped itself around the black knight's wrist just as the sword was raised.

However, accompanied by a terrifying roar, the black knight easily snapped Flametongue in two.

Even though Claire's elemental waffe was capable of ensnaring first class militarized spirits, under this pouring rain, spirits of the flame attribute could not unleash their full power here.

Naturally, Claire herself was well aware of that fact. Her efforts were fully intended to play a support role for Kamito.

It was only a tiny opening. But Kamito definitely would not fail to seize the opportunity.

With even faster speed, he swung down the Demon Slayer -- !

Infusing the sacred sword with maximum divine power, this strike was not one that could be blocked by just an arm-guard.

(--Success!)

Just as Kamito firmly believed victory was in his grasp, in that very instant.

The black knight vanished. Kamito was almost convinced the knight had sunk into the mud from the impact only to discover his opponent had instead leaped over an unimaginably vast distance.

"...Wha!?"

Kamito was dumbfounded. This was not an action a knight in heavy armor could perform.

(...Impossible!? A human body could not possibly move like that--)

Roaring, the black knight began to charge, producing wind pressure that swept up dust from the ground.

Kamito readied his stance once more and swiftly analyzed the situation.

Even as the strongest class of elemental waffe, Terminus Est had her weakness.

Namely, overwhelming consumption -- vast amounts of divine power were depleted from the wielder.

Compared to the very beginning, Kamito was now able to control power consumption much more easily. Nevertheless, he still could only sustain the released state briefly for mere minutes.

(Plus this storm here, this is gonna be tough...)

In the context of blade dancing where split-second actions could decide the victor, the effect of strong winds could not be ignored. Without being blessed with wind protection, it was impossible for an elementalist to perform high level sword skills in such conditions.

Kamito felt his uniform clinging heavily against his skin, drenched with rainwater. The muddy ground also confused his sense of balance.

Furthermore, the black knight who had evaded Kamito's attack moved in an extraordinary manner.

These were neither the swordsmanship of a proper knight nor the myriad varied skills of an assassin.

These were motions Kamito had never witnessed before.

(I should be able to evade this attack -- but I can't predict the one afterwards at all!)

With horrifying pressure, the jet black great sword approached.

(--In that case, I have to defeat him directly head on!)

Kamito made his decision. He believed in the power of his most excellent partner, Est.

"--Dispassionate Queen of Steel, may you crush all enemies before you!"

"What are you trying to do, Kamito!? Hurry and evade!"

Ignoring Claire's scream-like cry, Kamito stepped forward instead.

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Swinging the Demon Slayer down hard from overhead, he struck the jet black great sword.

With an eruption of light, the shockwave shook the air.

In that instant, with an intense showering of sparks, the jet black blade was completely shattered.

Apparently, the great sword was not an elemental waffe but a sword materialized using spirit magic. That sort of thing could not possibly withstand an attack from the strongest sword spirit.

"The name of the Demon Slayer is not just for show!"

He had no idea what kind of moves the black knight was using.

But Kamito believed firmly.

(...It's fine! The way I am now, I cannot lose!)

As he prepared to make a thrust -- at that moment.

Numerous jet black chains sprouted from the gaps in the dark armor, flying towards Kamito to ensnare him.

"Wha!?"

Kamito reacted immediately, crouching down on the ground to evade the attack.

"Kamito!"

Claire swung Flametongue and severed the chains with a crimson flash--

However, the jet black chains swiftly regenerated and targeted the girl collapsed behind Kamito.

"...This is bad!"

Kamito smacked his lips, discovering that he was not the target.

Captured by the chains, the girl screamed briefly.

Her whole body convulsed violently, then went limp as she lost consciousness.

(Chains formed by magic -- was that group from just now also defeated by these chains!?)

The chains slid back to the black knight's side--

In the next instant, black mist spewed out from the crevices of the armor.

"...Wha!?"

Kamito's entire body shuddered.

The unidentified sense of pressure given off by the black knight expanded all at once.

"Could it be, the absorption of divine power...?"

Claire was so shocked her voice trembled. At this moment--

"--Oh my, I never expected to run into the wolf himself while chasing after little rabbits."

"...!?"

The voice coming from the air was--

Kamito's expression instantly froze.

Beside the black knight, dense darkness descended.

The swirling darkness gradually took on the form of a black-winged angel possessing otherworldly beauty.

The darkness spirit who appeared was a girl with lustrous long black hair. Her dusk-colored eyes carried a sense of melancholy.

"Restia...!"

Kamito forgot to raise his sword and called out the name of his past contracted spirit.

"I didn't expect to meet you here... Kamito."

The darkness spirit girl smiled tenderly at Kamito.

This was a pure and innocent smile, exactly the same as in the past.

"...I didn't want to meet you in a place like this!"

Kamito silently shook his head.

During the morning meeting, he had already found out the fact she was acting together with the black knight.

Nevertheless, his heart had not accepted it entirely.

As soon as he pictured her performing a blade dance together with an elementalist apart from him--

He felt an intense stabbing pain in his heart.

(...Ah yes, I must be feeling jealousy.)

Calmly admitting to this fact, Kamito secretly laughed wryly at himself.

To think he actually harbored such a childish emotion.

"--That one there is your new contractor?"

Kamito questioned with frustrated impatience he could not hide.

"Let's not joke around. I have always been yours, Kamito... As long as you wish it to be so."

"..."

Kamito tightly gripped his leather gloved left hand.

"This is Nepenthes Lore -- the successor to the previous Demon King."

As if deriving pleasure from Kamito's reaction, Restia smiled mischievously.

"...Successor to the Demon King?"

"Or perhaps the Demon King's Will -- that would be a more appropriate name. That said, just as I expected, the current power is still insufficient. More sacrifices are necessary."

"...What are you talking about?"

Claire interjected with great acuity in her tone of voice.

"Oh my, isn't this Miss Hell Cat? Hello to you there. I'm sorry I didn't get to greet you at the garden the other day."

"Ah, you knew I was there!"

The twintails stood up in surprise.

"Restia, what are your intentions... Why did you enter this Blade Dance?"

Kamito asked coldly.

As a result, Restia lightly closed her dusk-colored eyes--

"--I still have a Wish that must be realized."

"Wish? Your Wish three years ago, I already--"

Halfway through -- Kamito cut himself off.

Claire was still present. He could not let her know what happened three years ago.

"Know your place, darkness spirit. I don't care whether you are Kamito's contracted spirit. He is currently a member of Team Scarlet and my slave spirit. I will definitely not let you do as you please."

"Oh my, what are you going to do to me? Miss Hell Cat."

Restia glared coldly at Claire.

Lifting an index finger, she pointed straight at Claire's chest.

Her adorable lips began to chant a spirit language incantation--

(That's...!)

Kamito hastily came to his senses and rushed over.

An extremely small pitch black sphere of thunder had formed at Restia's fingertip.

"Claire Rouge, even though she had said you were not to be attacked under any circumstance--"

The black-winged angel displayed a merciless smile--

"You will surely become a hindrance to his awakening -- Hence, you shall disappear right here."

The expanding ball of thunder was released from her fingertip.

Hell Blast -- the strongest class of spirit magic under the darkness attribute.

Let alone a human's mortal body, even mid class spirits would be instantly destroyed on contact.

"Claire--!"

"Kamito!?"

Claire's eyes stared wide in surprise.

Infusing the Demon Slayer with maximum divine power, Kamito rushed before the ball of thunder.

Gambling everything upon Terminus Est's trait of magical resistance, he used the blade to block the expanding ball of thunder.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Intense pain attacked his entire body. Unable to endure for but an instant, he lost consciousness in less than a second.

Blown away flying by the exploding thunder and lightning, Kamito fell down the waterfall.

"--Kamito!"