Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume6 Chapter5
Chapter 5 - Their Respective Nights
Several days had passed since the boy encountered the darkness spirit girl.
His mind and body were completely defeated.
Until this point, he had always had the confidence to overcome any of his training no matter how harsh or deadly.
In fact, there were many other children who had been brought to this place like him, but they had lost their lives instead.
No one expressed any mourning, sympathy or commendation towards their deaths. To the elders of the Instructional School, they were simply dismissed and disqualified, then tragically abandoned like broken tools.
This was the kind of hell where the boy survived.
He even obtained the power to crush a group of skilled assassins with his bare hands.
Nevertheless, this was only child's play.
In the last few days, that was what the boy discovered beyond a doubt.
"...Are you okay, Kamito?"
The darkness spirit girl watched Kamito with eyes of worry as he lay on the ground.
"...Don't... Touch me...!"
With a pained expression, the girl stopped herself from helping him up.
"Don't be angry. After all, my mission is to make you stronger."
The boy glared at the girl.
"Are you insulting me? --I have no feelings. I am simply a tool for murder."
The boy forced his body to get up despite it being covered with wounds.
Contrary to his claim, his inner heart was in turmoil.
It was neither anger nor hate, but some other -- emotion.
Hence, he absolutely must eliminate this emotion. Absolutely.
In order to become the perfect killing tool.
"Killing you is the order assigned to me. Hence -- I am only executing my mission."
"--Yes yes, that's right. Hurry and kill me then, Kamito."
Kamito and Milla left the cave and walked through the forest in the night.
The area was completely dark. Without the spirit crystal for illumination, he would not have been able to see even his feet.
Terrifying spirits of the night were beginning to become active, and the cries of beasts could be heard from the distance.
Noticing a tug on his sleeve, Kamito turned his head.
"It is already late night. Trying to march in haste would be dangerous."
Indeed, night was the time when beasts and hated demon spirits became active.
Walking in the forest at this time was not a wise decision.
"No problem. I am already used to blade dancing at night."
Kamito tried to reassure her.
In reality, he had undergone combat training in a zero visibility space during his time at the Instructional School. To a professional assassin, this could be considered a basic combat skill.
"Blade dancing at night..."
Milla suddenly turned her gaze to Kamito with eyes of despise.
"Wait a minute, I'm not talking about some kind of nuanced euphemism for nocturnal activities!"
"I did not say anything of that sort."
Milla answered softly with mild surprise.
"Let's walk a bit further. After all, there's no way to camp in a forest like this."
"Are you afraid? ...If that's the case, would you like to hold hands?"
"Holding a girl's hand in a dark forest... That is completely the action of a kidnapping criminal."
Kamito sighed with his eyes half-closed--
"Duck down quickly!"
Suddenly sensing something unusual, he hurriedly pushed her down onto the grass.
Kamito whispered by Milla's ear.
Above their heads, a blue-white fireball flew past.
The fireball constantly changed its shape as it flickered, circling around in the forest nonstop.
Probably a scouting spirit released by some team... It would be troublesome if Kamito and Milla were discovered.
The spirit circled for a while before disappearing into the depths of the forest.
Kamito wiped the sweat off his head. Although scouting spirits could be eliminated instantly, that act would be akin to exposing his position to the elementalist sharing vision with the spirit.
He was still suffering from wounds from falling off the cliff and his body had also accumulated quite a lot of fatigue.
To be honest, in his current condition it would be best to avoid enemy attacks.
"It's probably time for you to move."
His hand happened to be positioned on her chest.
Kamito frantically got up... The soft sensation still lingering on his hand.
"Since it was an emergency situation, I will let it slide."
Milla did not seem to mind. Patting the dust away from her skirt, she stood up.
Even though she was only thirteen years old, did she not feel even a bit embarrassed -- ?
Heightening their alertness, they continued their way through the forest.
"By the way--"
Kamito asked as they walked along the muddy ground.
"What kind of spirit did you contract with, Milla?"
Even though he knew it was a spirit with the holy attribute, there were still myriad forms. In terms of tendency, those that specialized in defense like Fianna's knight spirit Georgios were more common, but ultimately that was simply a tendency.
Variations in spirit type resulted in dramatic changes to the way they were used.
However, Milla quietly bowed her head.
"Even though our teams are allied, I cannot tell you. Because my spirit is a state secret."
Reaching a dead end, Kamito changed the subject.
"--So, is there a Wish you are trying to realize through this Blade Dance festival?"
Under normal conditions, this was a retarded question.
An elementalist who wanted to participate in the Blade Dance festival without her own wish could not possibly exist.
However, from this Milla Bassett girl--
Incredibly, Kamito could not sense that kind of motive.
Hence he was curious.
"--There is none."
"No? Without a Wish, then why--"
Why was she resorting to allying with another team, desperately trying to survive--
"I exist as a tool. As a tool, one must finish one's mission."
Kamito frowned with surprise.
If she called it a knight's loyalty it would have been fine -- but he felt that it was different from that.
Or rather, the impression he got from her, was a person who only lived to complete a certain goal -- in that case, tool was not an analogy but was meant literally.
Kamito knew a boy who resembled this girl.
Having lost all hope, a boy who even forgot the feeling of despair in the end.
Abandoning everything that made him human, a boy who was cultivated as a tool.
(In that case, this girl is very similar to the orphan at the Instructional School -- 'my past self.' )
Perhaps this was one reason why he felt he could not abandon her no matter what.
"...What is it?"
The heterochromic eyes stared coldly at Kamito.
Her emotionless gaze was very similar to Kamito's before having met Restia.
"No, nothing... Let's go."
Kamito quietly shook his head and continued trudging through the mud.
"A-Ahh... Ka... mito... Kamito, he..."
Claire was lying on a simple futon in a tent.
Sweating profusely from head to toe, she was calling Kamito's name with an exceptionally suffering expression.
Her consciousness was still quite fuzzy and there was no life in her eyes.
"How's Claire's condition?"
Rinslet brought warm soup and asked with worry.
"A very high fever... It seems like she was running all the way through the rain."
Fianna quietly shook her head.
Claire's smooth skin was covered all over with scratches from branches.
"The wounds on her body are nothing serious, but if we don't do something about this high fever..."
"...Kamito... If we don't save him..."
"Currently, the Captain is summoning wind spirits to conduct a search. Once morning arrives, we will join the search party."
"...After all, the forest at night is too dangerous."
Fianna bit her lip with regret.
After being carried to the tent, Claire reported what had happened under her semi-conscious state.
The encounter in the forest with Team Inferno's black knight -- Nepenthes Lore, and the resulting battle.
In the midst of battle, in order to protect Claire, Kamito had fallen down a waterfall.
After that, Claire barely managed to evade the pursuit of the darkness spirit and the black knight. Trying to search for Kamito, somehow she lost consciousness when her physical endurance reached its limits. By the time she came to again, she found herself back in their stronghold -- that was basically what happened.
Apparently, based on the situation, Scarlet had decided to bring the exhausted master back.
"If we don't, hurry up... Kamito will..."
"Wait a minute, what are you trying to do! You still can't move!"
Seeing Claire attempting to get up from bed, Fianna, uncharacteristically, scolded her loudly .
"But Kamito fell down a waterfall because he was protecting me..."
Normally quite strong-willed, Claire's eyes were now weeping with streams of tears.
Using the sleeve of her uniform, she kept rubbing her eyes.
"Seriously, you've returned to that crybaby from before."
"...N-Nothing like that, I am not a crybaby!"
Claire retorted angrily to Rinslet.
"Walking through the forest with a body in that condition, you will quickly turn into food for the beasts. Or are you trying to waste Kamito-san's wish to protect you?"
Rinslet reprimanded sternly, giving Claire no choice but to quiet down.
"First thing in the morning, we will all set off together. But for now, you have to rest properly and recover your energy."
Fianna patted Claire on the head gently.
"This is specialized sweet medicinal soup. Ah, your favorite, peaches were also added!"
Rinslet handed over the hot soup, still steaming.
In a rare moment of obedience, Claire nodded and sipped a mouthful of the medicinal soup.
"Kamito-san will surely return."
"Yes, that's right..."
--Leaving the tent, Fianna and Rinslet silently exchanged glances.
Claire's sobbing could be heard coming from inside the tent.
Presumably after drinking the warm medicinal soup, her tension relaxed all of a sudden.
At this moment, Ellis arrived with a solemn expression.
"How is Claire's condition?"
"If she rests properly, she should probably recover by tomorrow. However, the fact that Kamito-kun fell down a waterfall right before her eyes seems to have given her a great shock."
"Any progress in the search for Kamito-san?"
"Although I have spread wind spirits all around, nothing of value has been reported as of yet."
Ellis bit her lip regretfully.
"...He will be fine, right?"
The three girls fell silent.
Like Claire, they were all extremely worried about Kamito.
Blown by the chilly wind of the night, the leaves in the trees rustled and swayed.
Intense sparks were scattering in the dark night.
"This thing, what a monster!"
A knight wielding a halberd elemental waffe cried out.
She was the vice-captain of Dracunia's Knights of the Dragon Emperor, Yuri El Cid.
Due to their large scale battle operations undertaken on the first day, the Knights of the Dragon Emperor had delayed their stronghold construction and were currently wandering the forest.
Teams without strongholds were regarded as perfect prey. However, despite the attack of enemies throughout their march, they still defeated all these reckless attackers without exception.
However, their third opponent was in a completely different class compared to the enemies earlier.
"Leonora-sama, this is no ordinary elementalist!"
"Beware of the black chains, those things seem to be able to absorb divine power!"
Wielding a great sword, Leonora Lancaster commanded her subordinates as she rushed forward.
As four dragon knights surrounded the black knight who melded with the darkness of the night, Leonora valiantly charged.
The acute impacts of blades rang out.
The black knight and the dragon knight's swords clashed intensely.
"How shocking. Not only do they have the strongest blade dancer in their team, they also have this kind of troublesome--"
Leonora cried out in surprise.
The Dragon Slayer -- was without a doubt an elemental waffe of the highest class.
Nevertheless, the swings of her great sword were easily deflected by the black demon sword.
Furthermore, with each clash of the blades, the sharpness of the Dragon Slayer was steadily decreasing--
"A demon sword with darkness attributes eh? To think it could penetrate a dragon spirit's magical resistance...!"
As she took on the black demon sword's attacks--
"Well then, how about this move?"
Leonora chanted spirit magic.
"--Savor the dragon's roar, Dragon Ray!"
A burning crimson flash struck the black knight's helmet directly--
"Now is the moment, charge!"
Under the orders of the vice-captain, the dragon knights rushed forward.
Although not to the level of Leonora, each knight was a mighty and accomplished warrior.
As elemental waffen struck from all sides, the blades pierced the black knight's armor at the same time -- !
"Victory -- !"
Just as Yuri cheered loudly.
From the gaps in the armor, numerous black chains shot out like tentacles.
Pierced in the chest by the jet black chains, the dragon knights all fell to the ground.
Nepenthes Lore delightfully emitted a fearsome roar.
Absorbing a massive amount of the girls' divine power--
"Our elemental waffen should have pierced that armor...!"
Just as one girl captured by the chains lost consciousness--
"Curse you, monster -- !"
Leonora severed the black chains using the Dragon Slayer.
"Do not look down on the dragon of Dracunia...!"
Infusing her entire body's divine power into her elemental waffe, Leonora charged.
As she blocked the black knight's massive body alone, she yelled at the vice-captain behind her.
"Yuri, prepare to retreat -- this is no ordinary opponent."
"But our pride as the Dragon Knights of Dracunia, how could we be forced to retreat by a mere single elementalist--"
"Move it! Unless you want us all to fall right here!?"
"U-Understood -- !"
As expected of the Dragon Princess, Leonora had truly excellent instincts. Simply through several rounds of exchange, she had already realized the aberrant nature of the black knight before her.
Nepenthes Lore roared from beneath the armor.
The black knight's aura seemed far more powerful than before.
Yuri called her fire dragon spirit Lindwyrm to carry her unconscious teammate on its back. The two dragon knights who were still conscious also mounted their own dragon spirits.
Seeing they were ready, Leonora also returned the Dragon Slayer to the form of the black dragon Nidhogg and swiftly mounted its back.
Nepenthes Lore's sweeping demon sword produced jet-black lighting on its tip--
At Leonora's command, the Knights of the Dragon Emperor flew away in a well-trained formation.
Immediately, the jet-black lightning exploded, destroying trees in the forest without leaving any trace behind.
--However, Leonora and her group were already gone.
Thanks to their strict regular training, Dracunia's knights had retreated in a most splendid fashion.
In the night forest, Nepenthes Lore's red eyes flashed with dazzling splendor.
The demon sword held in the black knight's hand disappeared as if melting away into the night sky.
A beautiful black-winged angel appeared out of the air, landing lightly on the ground.
The darkness spirit Restia, who had transformed herself into an elemental waffe by her own will just now.
"True to the reputation of Leonora Lancaster, how troublesome to deal with."
Restia placed her finger on her moist lips, smiling mischievously.
"Even so, suppressing the Knights of the Dragon Emperor, renowned to be the strongest, this is quite sufficient as an accomplishment -- It is almost time for completion."
The will of the Demon King awakened through forbidden magic -- Nepenthes Lore. This monster that had absorbed the divine power of numerous elementalists probably had enough power to rival him now.
"--Kamito, you just wait. I will now liberate your true self."
Restia's dusk-colored eyes looked up at the starry night sky.
"Very soon, I will be able to tell you. The true meaning of our encounter--"
Three years ago, devoured by her Wish, her past memories had become fragmented.
The way she was now, she was a completely different existence from the Restia of the past--
Even so, shining lustrously like a treasure, one important memory still remained.
A feeling sweet enough to bring stabbing pain to the heart.
Most likely, this was the feeling known commonly as love.
Only that particular day's memory was forbidden to be tainted by any person.
"--If possible, Kamito, I wish to die by your hand."