Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume6 Chapter4
Chapter 4 - Milla Bassett
A youth was standing alone in this icy-cold darkness, a room that resembled a prison.
This was a young black-haired boy with fine facial features.
No light could be reflected from those hollow eyes of his.
At the youth's feet, several strongly built men were collapsed on the floor groaning.
"--Finished. What is the next training activity?"
It was a crisp voice that matched the child's age.
However, the voice was overwhelmingly devoid of natural emotion.
Observing from outside the room, the elders of the Instructional School were thrown into quite a commotion.
"There can be no doubt. He must be the promised child."
"Unmistakably, he is the one who inherited the Demon King's power."
All the men fallen on the ground were fairly accomplished assassins with substantial reputations in the underground circuit.
But in a mere matter of minutes, they were single-handedly defeated by a boy.
The boy's breathing had not even quickened the slightest from the exertion.
"What training is next?"
The boy asked again.
"The next opponent is not human--"
"...So, a beast from Astral Zero? Or perhaps, a spirit?"
The youth no longer had any emotion known as fear. In the past, human feelings once existed in his heart but they had all been destroyed a long time ago.
"Understood. All I need to do is crush that fellow like these guys, right?"
The elders nodded.
"Well then, where's the spirit?"
The boy imagined a spirit resembling a giant beast.
Appearing before the boy was a most adorable girl.
Slightly taller than the boy.
Lustrous black hair that reached waist-length. Dusk-colored eyes that seemed as if they drew your soul into them.
The boy widened his eyes in amazement.
It was quite a rare occasion for him to reveal a surprised expression.
"--Nice to meet you, Kamito."
Lifting the hem of her dress that resembled the color of midnight, she bowed to Kamito to perform a formal curtsy.
"The darkness spirit, Restia -- the highest ranking spirit in service of the previous Demon King."
"This person, is a spirit...?"
It was only natural for the boy to be in doubt.
Up to this point, he had never met a spirit in human form.
"Amongst the highest ranking spirits, there exist those who maintain human form."
"She shall instruct you to reach further heights."
The elders' voices resounded within the prison-like room.
However, their words barely reached the youth's ears.
Watching mesmerized -- because of this beautiful darkness spirit girl.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Kamito."
The darkness spirit smiled shyly and extended her hand towards the boy.
Suddenly, the boy swatted her hand away.
"Don't touch me. You will break, just like those guys fallen over there."
"--Is that so? How I look forward to your performance."
He did not miss the slightly hurt expression that only flashed across the girl's face momentarily--
The boy felt a mysterious sense of turmoil stirring within himself.
"Guh... Ahhh... Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!"
Kamito awoke with the feeling of searing pain as if being burned.
"Hah, hah, hah... Guh..."
Burying his fingernails deep into his skin, he could not stop the exploding pain in his chest.
Enduring the intense pain as he lay on the ground -- finally, his breathing returned to normal.
"This place... Is...?"
Looking up, he surveyed his surroundings.
He could hear the sound of rain in the distance. But nothing could be seen with virtually no light.
This appeared to be the interior of a cave. The sound of water dripping could be heard.
As icy-cold water droplets fell upon his forehead, Kamito was finally able to ponder calmly.
(Right. After being hit by Restia's thunder attack, I fell down the cliff--)
Had it been a direct hit, he would have died instantly on the spot without any doubt. Without the protection of the Demon Slayer's strong magical resistance, his body would have been destroyed before he even hit the water.
"Right -- Where's Est!?"
He frantically searched his surroundings but the cave interior was too dark.
(Could it be that she fell into the river!?)
As soon as this possibility crossed his mind, Kamito's face went pale.
Due to Est and Kamito's contract being in an incomplete state, Kamito was unable to summon her at will from a distance unlike other elementalists.
Just as he was about to take out a spirit crystal from his uniform's pocket for illumination--
"--Did you wake up? Kazehaya Kamito."
A cold indifferent voice sounded out from the depths of the darkness.
Instantly, dazzling light filled the interior of the cave.
Over there was a girl holding a piece of spirit crystal for lighting.
Her knightly uniform was made of white fabric decorated with red linear designs. Her dark brown hair wavered in the wind.
Most striking of all -- were those eyes of hers that glittered like brilliant gemstones on her prim and proper face.
An azure right eye and an amber-colored left eye -- heterochromia.
Watching the mysterious heterochromic eyes of the beautiful girl, Kamito stared at her mesmerized, completely ignoring his lying down posture.
"Did you wake up -- I asked you a question, right?"
The girl walked over to Kamito and crouched down.
He could almost catch a glimpse of her skirt's underside. Kamito frantically averted his gaze.
"...Did you save me?"
The girl nodded.
"You lost consciousness by the river. You were lucky to have made contact with my detection barrier."
"...I see. Thanks for saving me."
Kamito stood up unsteadily and bowed his head to the girl.
The girl looked up and frowned with amazement.
"You're not wary of me? On this stage of the Blade Dance festival, do know that we are elementalists of opposing teams."
"I can't do anything so rude as to act wary towards my savior."
"Perhaps I have ulterior motives for saving you."
"Even so, that doesn't change the fact that you saved me. Also--"
Kamito shrugged as he spoke.
"You don't look like a villain. That's what my instincts tell me."
The heterochromia girl sighed as if exasperated.
Despite her clearly child-like face, her manner of speaking was very adult.
Wearing a white uniform with red designs, which country's representative is she--
At this moment, Kamito noticed the sword lying against the wall behind the girl.
No mistake about it. That was Kamito's partner.
"This is your sword. Fallen into the riverbed, I fished it out of the water--"
Before she finished her sentence, Kamito instantly tried to run over--
Intense pain erupted all over his body, forcing him to collapse to the ground.
...Looks like bones were broken in many places.
"Do not move. Kazehaya Kamito, your body has not recovered yet."
"Looks like it... By the way, why do you know my name?"
"Isn't it only natural to remember the names of all the Blade Dance participants? Besides, you are the only male elementalist."
Actually, memorizing all the names of the participants was quite an achievement--
At this time -- Kamito suddenly remembered.
"I recall now, this uniform... You're from the Principality of Rossvale!"
"Correct, I am the leader of the Rupture Division -- Milla Bassett."
The girl with heterochromic eyes announced her name without any change in tone.
Facing the girl, Kamito crossed his legs and sat on the cave floor.
Milla Bassett -- leader of the Rupture Division, was the youngest elementalist participating in this Blade Dance.
Even though self-introductions had been made, Kamito still felt rather puzzled.
No matter how he looked, this was just a young and beautiful girl. He could not feel from her any aura belonging to an ace-level elementalist like Velsaria or Leonora.
Instead, there was a dream-like quality that seemed to instill others with an impulse to protect her unconditionally.
(...Well, judging an elementalist by first impressions is very dangerous.)
Kamito muttered to himself then started asking the girl who sat before him.
"We came over here to negotiate our alliance with the Rupture Division, but your team did not appear at the appointed location. What happened, could you explain properly?"
"I must apologize to you on this point. I never expected the black knight to chase all the way into my team's stronghold."
"The black knight -- you mean the elementalist from Team Inferno?"
"Yes. The Rupture Division was destroyed by that black knight."
Indeed, that black knight -- Nepenthes Lore was definitely no ordinary elementalist.
However, if even the famed and powerful Rupture Division was destroyed--
Including Team Wyvern who fought above the cliff, there were now three teams vanquished by that monster.
"Furthermore, the black knight absorbs the divine power of elementalists, becoming ever stronger."
"Yes, I've already seen that."
Kamito did not know what kind of ability it was, but the black knight had used jet black chains to capture elementalists and absorb their divine power.
Kamito was still able to put up a fight earlier, but if this absorption of divine power continued, it would be impossible to oppose the black knight eventually.
"However, at the current time, there should still be a way to resist."
"--Which is why the alliance invitation was sent."
"Correct, an alliance lasting until the black knight's defeat. Although I cannot tell you concrete details about its abilities, the holy spirit contracted to me is extremely powerful. Your team will surely benefit from my assistance."
Her proposal was quite simple.
An alliance with Team Scarlet to oppose Nepenthes Lore.
"...Let me consider this for a bit."
An alliance proposed by a team facing imminent defeat.
Kamito pondered the implications--
What Milla Bassett needed was actually protection under the guise of an alliance.
The rules of the Blade Dance festival stipulated that so long as one member of the team survived, the rest of the team could still participate in the finals. But in actual practice, it was not quite possible for a single person to collect enough magic stones to qualify without the help of three or four teammates.
(Hence, she needs us to be her comrades...)
Also, her allying with Team Scarlet would bring benefits.
The holy spirit contracted to Milla Bassett.
Given a holy spirit that held a strong advantage against darkness spirits, this could serve as a final trump card to resist Restia and Nepenthes Lore.
(...It does make a lot of sense. There should be no trap by this point.)
If this were a trap, there would be no point in helping Kamito. She could simply have stolen his magic stone while he was unconscious.
Also, if allowed to power up continually, Nepenthes Lore would become Kamito and his team's greatest threat eventually.
(...When that time comes, would I really be able to win?)
Calmly, he went over his memories.
Rather than the strongest blade dancer of three years ago --Kamito only had the power of his currently weakened state.
Claire, Ellis, Fianna, Rinslet... He recalled the faces of these four young ladies.
(With my power alone, will I be able to protect this important team?)
Alternating his gaze between the leather gloved left hand and the right hand that was branded with the sword emblem of the spirit seal --
Kamito finally responded.
"The alliance will last until the defeat of the black knight -- Nepenthes Lore, is that okay?"
"No problem. However, for the duration of the alliance, the distribution of acquired magic stones must be fair and equitable."
"Yes, I understand."
There were no objections on either side.
Setting a limited duration for the alliance was necessary at the very start. Since only four teams could reach the finals, allying to the very end would be a most naive notion.
"I have a question."
"What is it?"
"Why did you choose us to propose an alliance?"
Kamito was not suspicious -- it was simply out of curiosity.
"...What do you mean by that?"
"Even if you just consider the Academy's representatives, Team Scarlet is only ranked third. There are higher ranking teams -- for example, isn't Team Wyvern's stronghold quite close to yours?"
"Rankings are simply based on results at the Academy."
Milla stated monotonously.
"Kazehaya Kamito -- you are an extremely powerful elementalist."
"You cannot play dumb. Last night, your blade dance with Leonora Lancaster--"
"You saw it..."
Kamito groaned with displeasure.
Speaking of which, the barrier had been damaged at the time and completely lost function. It would have been possible for spirit-sharing scouting spirits to invade the stronghold.
"At the time, all members of the Rupture Division were convinced that Team Scarlet would be eliminated the first day. However, you defeated Leonora instead."
"--I didn't win. At best you can call it a draw."
"Furthermore -- for you in particular, a certain negotiation technique is effective."
Milla glared coldly at Kamito.
"The Principality of Rossvale's intelligence division has already discovered your fetish for young girls."
"What kind of intelligence is that!?"
"No need to deny it. It's not a problem."
"I'm not denying anything!"
"Reportedly, a fully nude young girl accompanies you in your sleep."
In a certain sense, this was indeed the truth.
"N-Not completely nude... Est's is called the naked kneesocks look!"
"...Not a problem. This particular fetish is already known."
"That's not a fetish! Seriously, the Principality of Rossvale's intelligence is quite amazing in a certain sense..."
There had been rumors of spies from other countries amongst the students at Areishia Spirit Academy. Clearly they were not unfounded.
"Let me be clear, naked kneesocks is definitely not my fetish!"
"Rest assured, I will service you in kneesocks as well."
Ignoring Kamito's troubled expression--
Milla began to undress.
"This is my first time, so I have no idea if I will do a good job..."
With unfamiliar movements, she undid the buttons of her uniform one after another.
Just as she was about to unbuckle her skirt--
"W-Wait a minute, what are you doing!?"
Kamito frantically grabbed the young girl's slender wrist.
Milla was surprised.
"...Isn't this what all men want?"
"N-No that's not it, so listen to me..."
From the gap in her unbuttoned shirt, her cute underwear was visible. This was really too stimulating a sight.
Monotonously, Milla spoke--
"Or what you're trying to say is, a thirteen-year-old body is not good enough?"
"Uwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, j-just put on your clothes first, then we'll talk!"
Kamito yelled and stood up. In an absolute state of panic, he swiftly helped her put on the uniform jacket she had taken off.
"...Dressing in this way is more to your tastes?"
"No! Seriously, I can't understand you. Aren't we here to negotiate the alliance?"
"...Seduction has always been a very effective maneuver for winning over males."
"You, so that's what you're trying to pull..."
Kamito sighed deeply.
...I see, she was convinced that this would easily win over a man.
"Even if you don't do that, we will still form an alliance with you."
Milla's heterochromic eyes blinked repeatedly.
"That's right. So don't do that anymore. Don't use your body as a tool."
Kamito placed his hand on the head of the surprised girl.
"Team Scarlet and the Rupture Division are hereby allied."
"Is that so... Very well then."
Milla breathed a sigh of relief.
--To be honest, the benefits of the alliance were not that pivotal for Team Scarlet.
A spirit of holy alignment was indeed useful but not critical.
However, this girl was Kamito's savior.
Furthermore, seeing this girl all alone having lost all her companions, Kamito felt that he could not leave her alone.
(...Looks like I'm really bad at dealing with abandoned kittens.)
Recalling the image of the twintailed hell cat girl, Kamito smiled wryly.
...Though he was also worried about Claire, he was sure she would not be taken out so easily--
Suddenly, Kamito noticed Milla was staring intently at him.
"W-What is it?"
"Kazehaya Kamito, if you don't bend down, we cannot exchange the Oath of alliance."
"Oh I see..."
The term 'Oath' was used for the ritual where elementalists exchanged vows.
It was quite commonly used when exchanging important promises.
If an elementalist were to break the Oath, that person would suffer harsh punishment. For example, they would be viewed as an enemy by the spirits and be cut off from the blessing of the leylines for the long term. Depending on the severity of circumstances, they could even lose the power to summon contracted spirits.
Kamito bent over to roughly Milla's height and raised his right thumb.
Likewise, Milla raised her thumb and pressed it against Kamito's.
"In the name of the Elemental Lords I hereby swear. Even if the heavens collapse and the earth splits open--"
"The contract we hereby exchange shall never be breached. Or else--"
"I shall be incinerated in eternal conflagration, until my shadow turns to ash--"
An oath composed using spirit language.
And the final step--
Milla stood slightly on tiptoe and kissed Kamito on the cheek.
"...Wha! Y-You, just now--"
"A kiss is necessary to establish an Oath. You can't possibly not know that, right?"
Milla continued to speak in monotone.
"That's true, but still..."
Kamito scratched his head, greatly troubled.
...Kissing girls was really too embarrassing.
Oh well, there were no rules requiring the location of the kiss to be the mouth -- that was his only salvation.
After a moment of bewilderment, Kamito--
Kissed Milla lightly on the back of her hand.
"Is this fine now?"
"...How surprising. An unexpected gentleman."
"Please get rid of that redundant 'unexpected'..."
Grumbling with displeasure, Kamito reached for Est resting against the wall.
His body was covered with injuries but not to the point of preventing him from walking.
"I plan on meeting up with my comrades, can we set off now?"
"I agree. Even though there is a barrier here, there is no guarantee that this place is safe."
The pair left the cave to discover the sky had already darkened.
Although not as severe as during the storm earlier, the rain still continued nonstop.
Looking up to find the cliff where he had fallen off, Kamito sighed.
...To think he was saved despite falling from that height.
(Hopefully, Claire was fine...)
Meanwhile, within the forest stronghold, Ellis and Rinslet were preparing food.
In the stone pile on the riverside, a spirit crystal with a sealed flame spirit was glowing red.
Even though it was raining, thanks to Ellis' barrier of wind, there was no worry of the food getting wet from the rain.
"...It's getting dark."
Stirring the pot, Rinslet murmured with worry.
"Will Claire and Kamito-san be fine?"
"Worried about them?"
"O-Of course not... Ouch hot!"
Panicking, Rinslet splashed soup on her hand.
"There is no need to worry about those two. After all, their grades in practical training are top in school."
Ellis added to the pot sliced pieces of fish caught from the river.
Rinslet sucked her slightly burned fingertip--
"But still, Kamito does hold the nickname of the Demon King of the Night, I'm really worried what he might do to the girls he's negotiating with..."
Ellis could not help but pause in her preparation of the fish.
"I-Indeed that is quite worrying. Of course, I-I am worrying about the girls on the other team."
"Y-Yes, I am worried about those girls too!"
"B-But even if Kamito is known as the King of Lust, he cannot possibly make a move on a thirteen-year-old, right?"
"Let me tell you a secret, a few days ago, Kamito-san, he did indeed say he wanted to try a sister sandwich with me and my nine-year-old little sister Mireille!"
...Although this did not actually occur, these delusions were as good as true from Rinslet's perspective.
"W-What did you say!? I am so jeal... Must condemn such indecency!"
Ellis stabbed the kitchen knife hard into the cutting board.
"...Seriously. How should I say this. Kamito is that kind of natural--"
"Natural public enemy of womankind!"
"T-That is so right. That guy keeps saying all these shocking things all of a sudden."
"That's right! H-He makes my heart race, c-causing me to act strangely!"
"Y-Yes. Listening to Kamito talk is bad for the heart... Hence, that guy is the public enemy of womankind!"
The two nodded vigorously in complete agreement.
...Taking advantage of his absence, they pulled no punches in badmouthing him behind his back.
However, what was unbelievable was that they were not actually angry with him.
"Oh my, this smells really good."
Fianna arrived and peered at the soup in the boiling pot.
"If you don't mind, how about I help as well?"
"We have enough help here!"
"Please have a well-deserved break, Your Highness the imperial princess."
Rinslet and Ellis shook their heads vigorously.
They were both well aware of Fianna's horrifying cooking skills.
"Come on... Don't leave me out alone."
Just as Fianna pouted --
Rustle -- The trees in the distance rocked violently.
The trio exchanged glances with one another in surprise.
If the visitor was hostile, then the barrier would have alerted them on contact--
As it turned out, the one who appeared out from the trees was a hell cat spirit wrapped in weak flames.
Due to the rain, it had become especially feeble.
"Did Claire and Kamito return?"
The trio rushed over to the hell cat spirit who was about to disappear.
With the last of its strength, Scarlet pointed its burning tail towards the thicket. Completely exhausted, it dispelled its material body and disappeared into thin air.
The three girls hastily pushed aside the shrubbery and found--
Drenched with rain and covered in mud, Claire lay there fallen.
Her prided twintails scattered and disheveled. There were also wounds all over her smooth skin.
"...What on earth could have happened!?"
From Claire's lips came weak panting.
"--She's still conscious. I will perform healing magic. Hurry and prepare the tools for the ritual."
Fianna gave orders with a tense expression.
"Don't worry about me, so..."
Panting painfully, Claire spoke desperately with trembling lips.
"Ka... mito... Hurry and save him, Kamito...!"