Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume6 Chapter8
Chapter 8 - The Demon Sword Revived
The spirits inhabiting the forest began to cause a noisy commotion as soon as they sensed the intruder's presence.
"--That person arrived."
Kamito answered briefly as Milla frowned.
As if tempting Kamito, the spirit seal on his left hand was throbbing.
The identity of the visitor -- there was no need for deductions.
"Milla, do me a favor and go to where Claire and the rest are."
Swiftly putting on his uniform, Kamito picked up the sleeping Demon Slayer.
"What about you, Kamito?"
"Her only target is me. I have to stop them here."
"You are fighting Nepenthes Lore by yourself?"
"Hurry and go--"
Milla nodded and ran towards the campsite.
Watching her leave--
"...This thing is truly an extraordinary monster."
Kamito wiped the cold sweat from his forehead.
He could sense the disastrous aura approaching from the depths of the forest.
She too, surely knew Kamito was located here.
Immediately -- a roar that seemed to shake the earth was heard.
Kamito infused the Demon Slayer with divine power.
Shining brightly with silver-white luster, Terminus Est banished the darkness of the night.
Tearing away the wall of trees in the way--
The monster appeared before Kamito.
The elementalist clad completely in jet black armor -- Nepenthes Lore.
As well as--
"I'm so glad, Kamito. You've been waiting for me all alone?"
Those beautiful dusk-colored eyes. Her dark dress and gorgeous black hair fluttered in the wind.
Unfortunately, she had not changed at all -- she still maintained the same appearance as back then, back when their hearts were one.
Despite the fact that Kamito himself had changed so much.
Kamito forgot everything in an instant, mesmerized by her beautiful appearance.
If he held out his hand now, would her past self return? -- Such foolish wishes crossed his mind.
"Nepenthes Lore is the final opponent I've prepared for you."
She smiled lightly.
"Very well then, blade dance to your heart's content, Kamito."
Kamito wielded the Demon Slayer with both hands.
...The way she was now, it was impossible to reach her with words.
Only through a blade dance could her inner heart be touched.
"From distant lands I have brought forth endless darkness, to bestow upon you eternal punishment--"
Restia's adorable lips chanted spirit language.
Her figure disappeared as if melting into the darkness--
Instantly, a jet black demon sword appeared in the hand of Nepenthes Lore.
It was a great sword reminiscent of burning black flames of disaster. Although there were minute differences, it was indeed the same weapon that Kamito wielded three years ago.
The Vorpal Sword -- amongst darkness elemental waffen, it was indisputably the demon sword of the strongest class.
However, Kamito's current elemental waffe was no pushover either. Despite being incomplete, Est's rank as a spirit should be no inferior to Restia in any significant amount.
"--Let's go, Est!"
The Demon Slayer's blade shone with silver-white brilliance.
In the forest where the spirits were in a clamor, Milla ran desperately.
Her destination was the center of the stronghold where Claire and the girls were located. Naturally, the girls had already noticed the latest developments--
Suddenly, Milla discovered a fiery hell cat running from the depths of the forest.
She recalled its name was Scarlet, Claire's contracted spirit.
As Milla stopped, she heard a voice from that direction.
Appearing from the darkness were the three girls, Claire, Ellis and Rinslet. They were all wielding their elemental waffen, ready for battle.
As her shoulders heaved with her breathing, Claire asked with a face full of concern.
"He is currently fighting alone against Nepenthes Lore whom the darkness spirit brought."
"...What did you say!?"
Claire and the girls exchanged glances.
"Hurry and tell us where. We must fight together."
Milla frowned... What was she saying?
"Yes. That is not an enemy Kamito can handle alone."
"If you don't hurry, Kamito-san will be taken out!"
Ellis and Rinslet pressed impatiently.
These girls were definitely excellent elementalists.
However, they were surely unable to help Kamito. In fact, they were more likely to become a burden.
That Nepenthes Lore was truly a monster. By now, it had probably reached an even higher level of power compared to when the Rupture Division was annihilated.
The only one able to fight it head on was Kazehaya Kamito.
No, even Kamito might not win. Precisely because he understood the situation well, that was why he asked Milla to hurry to Claire and the other girls.
To help his important comrades escape.
Milla could sympathize with Kamito's feelings.
"--You girls, cannot go there."
Claire frowned with surprise as Ellis and Rinslet looked at each other.
"Kamito chose to fight alone for the sake of protecting you. Therefore, you cannot go."
"Did Kamito say that?"
"Did Kamito say he will fight alone?"
Claire stared straight into Milla's face.
Rather than scolding, she was speaking with an inexplicable sense of authority.
Claire gently placed her hand on the confused Milla's head--
"No matter what, we have to go."
Forcefully, she declared.
"We are a team, and that guy -- is our precious comrade."
Ellis and Rinslet nodded silently.
Milla felt something rouse within her heart.
...An unidentified emotion.
Only, it felt scorching hot--
--At that moment, jet black lightning exploded in the distance.
Kamito leaped from the ground. Holding the sacred sword in both hands, he swung it down on the black knight's head.
Although this sacred sword, which had once destroyed the Demon King at the hands of the Sacred Queen, was only at one tenth of its original power, it was still sufficient to shatter the dragon knight Leonora's Dragon Slayer.
Nevertheless, the black knight's massive body turned and lightly blocked the attack using the dark demon sword.
Sparks scattered in the dark night. Pushed back by the receiving stroke, Kamito flew through the air.
(This thing has become much stronger since the last battle...!)
Smacking his lips as he landed, Kamito lowered his stance and attacked once again.
He was well aware of the severe drawbacks when fighting enemies of a superior physical build. In a direct clash of swords, Kamito, with his weaker arm strength, would be obviously disadvantaged.
(In that case, I must take advantage of the opponent's openings--)
Hence Kamito stepped forward.
Nepenthes Lore swept the jet black demon sword sideways--
In that instant, jet black lighting erupted from the demon sword's blade.
At the last moment, Kamito jumped sideways to evade. The innumerable lightning strikes released from the blade blasted a massive crater in the ground.
"...Even that can be used!?"
Kamito could not help but cry out.
Vorpal Blast -- that was the move that had filled numerous elementalists with fear three years ago.
It was the demon sword technique that Kamito had used to dominate and win the Blade Dance festival in the past as the strongest blade dancer.
Being devoured by the lighting meant instant death without question.
Nimbly dodging the storm of jet black lightning strikes, Kamito sought openings to approach Nepenthes Lore.
The clashing of the demon and sacred swords resulted in a continuous shower of sparks.
The Demon Slayer and the Vorpal Sword were equal in power.
Kamito swung his sword repeatedly to produce a storm of attacks, giving his opponent no opportunity to release lightning.
But he was unable to overwhelm his opponent. Nepenthes Lore displayed sword skills rivaling Kamito's. Furthermore, unlike Kamito, the black knight possessed nearly limitless divine power.
The only possible advantage was--
(...That guy is not Restia's true master through a proper contract.)
Even as the strongest demon sword, the Vorpal Sword, Restia was simply imitating the sword's appearance by her own will.
Consequently, the sword was not infused with the elementalist's own will.
Compared to an elemental waffe -- the weapon materialized by the unification of the contractor and the spirit's wills, the difference was paramount.
Kamito gripped the Demon Slayer tightly.
Entrusting complete faith in the spirit known as Est, he infused maximum divine power into the elemental waffe.
The sacred sword gave off dazzling brilliance and completely illuminated the darkness of the night.
"You can never wield Restia the same way as me!"
Kamito's strike swept the demon sword aside.
With an acute noise of metallic impact, Nepenthes Lore's body was sent off balance for the first time.
To prevent Kamito from following up the attack, Nepenthes Lore unleashed the Vorpal Blast.
Jet black lightning erupted from the blade of the demon sword.
--However, this was exactly what Kamito was waiting for.
The Vorpal Blast was not a pure sword skill but a type of spirit magic using the demon sword as a medium. Even though it did not require an incantation, activation of the technique still caused a brief momentary delay.
Seizing this opportunity, Kamito accelerated.
The lightning exploded before his eyes but Kamito did not falter. So long as he read the trajectory, Terminus Est's power was sufficient to deflect the lightning.
As a silver-white flash streaked through the air, the jet black lightning instantly dissipated.
Kamito did not stop. Raising the extended sacred sword, he invaded Nepenthes Lore's personal space like a tornado, chopping down at the massive body with his full strength.
The strike of the Demon Slayer shattered the black knight's helmet--
Engulfed by the light of Terminus Est, the jet black fragments vanished.
A terrifying roar pierced Kamito's ears.
Those eye sockets held glaring gazes of intense red light that seemed to penetrate Kamito.
Kamito widened his eyes in surprise.
He was immensely shocked by the sight before his eyes.
Exposed from the shattered armor--
That thing was not human.
Enveloped in black mist, that appearance was like a pitch black skeleton.
Amidst those eye sockets of infinite darkness, red eyes flashed with the light of disaster.
"This thing is... What the heck...?"
Kamito had known from the start that Nepenthes Lore was no ordinary elementalist.
However, this thing before him--
"--That's right, this is no human."
The one who answered was Restia, back in human form as a girl.
"--Awakened through forbidden magic, the Demon King's successor. Ren Ashdoll's will."
Kamito had heard that name many times before.
This was the name of the darkness elemental lord, reportedly vanquished during distant ancient times, whose existence itself was in doubt.
"Restia... You, what on earth..."
"That is all you can be told at this point."
Restia smiled tenderly.
As the light of disaster shone from Nepenthes Lore's eye sockets, roars shook the atmosphere.
The pressure Kamito felt on his entire body was completely different from earlier.
"...If my enemy is not human, then there's no need for me to hold back at all."
Kamito readied the Demon Slayer in a stance once more.
"I like that expression of yours. It reminds me of those times in the past."
"The way I am now, is different from the me you knew back then."
Kamito shook his head.
"Neither the strongest blade dancer from three years ago, nor the assassin from the Instructional School. Instead, I am now a member of Areishia Spirit Academy's Team Scarlet, Kazehaya Kamito!"
"That's right. You are much weaker than back then."
"Indeed I have weakened. If my past self from three years ago stood here -- me and Restia, even against this formidable Nepenthes Lore, I would feel no threat at all."
"Definitely. The one who knows best how powerful you are... Is me."
"However, perhaps you might not believe this--"
Kamito smiled fearlessly.
"From that Academy, I have obtained power surpassing myself three years ago."
"...? What did you just say?"
"Didn't you hear me? From the Academy, I have obtained power even greater than before."
Restia's beautiful face--
Began to show subtle signs of anxiety.
Such an expression was truly rare for her.
"...What a tasteless joke. Though surprisingly, your conceit and self-confidence is identical to when you were young."
Turning towards Nepenthes Lore, she lightly lifted her hand--
"This unfounded self-confidence of yours shall be utterly crushed by me."
Black flashing light erupted from her fingertips.
"Although she said the seal could not be released yet, let me treat you to a special sight. This is Nepenthes Lore's true power--"
Nepenthes Lore's massive body shook.
The jet black armor dissipated into black mist and melted into the darkness of the night--
(...What the heck is this!?)
Kamito gazed with full attention--
From the vanished armor, thick viscous darkness oozed out.
Squirming, shapeless darkness. Or rather, that thing was barely maintaining a human's form.
The repulsive skeleton emitted a bright red gaze as strange cursing laments leaked out of its mouth.
Restia's adorable lips twisted themselves slightly.
"Rather than protecting Nepenthes Lore, that armor acted as a seal to prevent its dark will from going berserk."
Restia's figure disappeared into the darkness and took on the demon sword's form once more.
The skeleton's skull seemed to be trembling with delight from being released, exhaling pitch black breath.
"This looks really bad..."
Kamito licked his lips and groaned... His fingertips trembling slightly.
A true monster -- compared to his opponent just now, this was a completely different being.
Kamito gripped his partner tightly, the sacred sword.
"--Est, I'm relying on you. Please lend me your power a little longer."
Hearing the sounds of blades clashing in the distance, Milla Bassett bit her lip hard.
Claire and the girls were moving towards Kamito's location.
--No, I have no place to feel like I am in a dilemma.
Unable to use a contracted spirit, she would only be a liability.
(I, have no value anymore...)
Lightly, she touched her amber left eye -- the Demon Sealing Eye.
The icy cold sensation felt exactly like her heart right now.
The value as a vessel for a powerful tactical class spirit.
This was the entirety of her meaning in life.
Caressing her head, she recalled the warmth from that hand of his.
Hearing that he grew up in that Instructional School, just like herself -- no, surely he must have suffered far harsher training beyond what she had experienced.
Even so, he was still able to smile in that manner--
And believe in those girls, his comrades, to such an extent.
(He said, I am not a tool...)
Her emotions which had been trained to remain calm and unwavering, were starting to enter a state of turmoil.
(I wish, to become that person's strength...!)
Tears fell from Milla's eyes.
However, she was powerless in her current state.
At this time, running footsteps could be heard in the forest.
Milla looked up.
Unsuited to combat, she should be hiding herself in the center of the stronghold instead, right -- ?
Fianna ran over as soon as she found Milla.
Probably because she was not in great physical shape, she was panting out of breath.
"I never expected the enemy to break through from the front like that. I've spent a lot of time assessing the damage and repairing the barrier. Although the barrier's overall functions have been recovered somewhat, the internal leylines have been messed up pretty badly..."
Apparently she had been busy repairing the damaged barrier. Ordinarily, fixing the barrier in such short time was not possible--
(...Speaking of which, she was originally a princess maiden and candidate for Queen.)
Purely in barrier construction, even amongst the other high level elementalists gathered at the Blade Dance festival, Fianna was likely unparalleled.
Suddenly, a thought flashed across Milla's mind.
Even so, she still had a doubt -- why was Fianna still here?
"...You, where are you going?"
Seeing Fianna still out of breath, Milla asked.
"...? Isn't it obvious? Of course I'm going to assist Kamito-kun."
Fianna replied with an incredulous expression. Surprisingly, there was not the slightest hesitation in her eyes.
"After all, my knight spirit is better matched against a darkness spirit in a fight."
...That was besides the point. No matter how powerful a spirit she was contracted to, without undergoing any combat training, she would surely become a target.
"Why, you girls..."
Milla could not comprehend their actions. Given Team Scarlet's combat potential, there was no way they could defeat Nepenthes Lore.
Clearly they did not fail to understand that--
Faced with Milla's perplexed expression, Fianna went "fufu" and smiled.
"Because we place our faith in Kamito-kun -- Therefore, Kamito-kun will surely trust in us."
Milla's eyes widened suddenly.
...Kamito also believed in them?
Supposing, what if Kamito was not fighting for the sake of allowing the girls to escape--
(...Instead, he is aiming for victory together?)
Believing in his comrades, Kamito asked Milla to go to Claire and the rest.
However, she had interpreted his words as telling them to escape...!?
Fianna blushed shyly.
"Girls... As long as it's for the one they l-love, girls can do anything."
In a tiny whisper, barely audible, that was what she said.
"You'll understand when you grow up."
Fianna shyly turned her blushing face away.
Seeing the imperial princess acting this way--
A certain notion surfaced in Milla's mind.
(That's right, given Fianna who is capable of constructing this sort of barrier...)
Perhaps an attempt might be successful after all...!
"Well then, I have to go--"
Milla reached out and grabbed Fianna tightly from behind just as she was about to start running again.
"What is it?"
"This stronghold, is it currently under your control?"
"...? Yes. Although the damage is obvious, the barrier and the leylines are under my control."
Looking up at Fianna who was tilting her head in puzzlement, Milla spoke.
"I have an idea I'd like to try. I hope to obtain your assistance."
...Who knew if it would work. However, it was worth a try.
Milla lightly touched her Demon Sealing Eye on her left with her fingertip.
(If it fails -- even if it succeeds, I will lose my value.)
It would be an act that rejected the life she had lived up until now.
Even so -- if she did nothing at this juncture, she would surely regret it.
That was what she thought.
As if a scorching/burning hot idea suddenly exploded in her heart for the first time in her life--
Milla Bassett cried out.
"--Please. Take me to the heart of the stronghold!"
--As the mud-like darkness dripped down upon the ground, Nepenthes Lore roared.
Then the black knight pulled out the Vorpal Sword embedded vertically in the ground.
Tightly gripping the Demon Slayer as it shone with silver-white brilliance, Kamito began to charge.
Kicking the soles of his boots against the ground to gain speed -- Kamito closed in instantly.
(A sustained battle would be disadvantageous for me. Victory must be decided in the next strike...!)
But just as he stepped on the black mud stretching across the ground, in that very instant--
An intensely draining sensation attacked his entire body, and Terminus Est's shining brightness suddenly disappeared.
(...As soon as this darkness touched, my power gets stolen!?)
The viscous darkness entangled his foot. Kamito smacked his lips and jumped.
Numerous dark tentacles sprouted from the ground to pursue Kamito as he jumped. Infusing divine power into Terminus Est which had lost its brightness, Kamito severed all the incoming tentacles.
Nepenthes Lore roared with laughter as if greatly delighted.
"...This monster, getting so excited from being freed!"
There was little leisure for further ridiculing the opponent. The bottomless ooze dripping from Nepenthes Lore's body was rapidly eroding the ground surface.
"Is this all the divine power absorbed from the elementalists so far...?"
Dodging the dark tentacles extending from the ground, Kamito waited for his chance.
Vorpal Blast was released from the dark demon sword in Nepenthes Lore's hand.
A dark thunderstrike that streaked across the ground in a straight line.
Kamito barely dodged to find a large patch of forest behind him annihilated without a trace.
This surprising firepower far surpassed the level displayed back when Nepenthes Lore was sealed in the armor.
Various spirits hidden in the forest were instantly destroyed, producing particles of light. Fleeing spirits were also captured and devoured by the dark tentacles sprouting from the ground.
Kamito brushed away black mud and jumped, infusing the Demon Slayer with divine power.
Using the dazzling sacred sword, he swung down at the demon sword of darkness -- !
As if responding to Kamito's thoughts, Terminus Est's brightness intensified.
Clang -- suddenly there was a minute metallic noise.
In the ensuing intense explosion of sparks, Kamito's ears caught the sound of a blade cracking.
(...Could it be possible, Est broke!?)
To this point, the Demon Slayer had vanquished numerous formidable foes.
For the very first time, Kamito experienced disadvantage in a frontal clash of blades.
Terminus Est was in no way inferior to Restia's demon sword.
But persisted use of an excessively powerful elemental waffe was depleting Kamito's divine power.
"...Tsk, I beg you Est, please endure a little while longer!"
Yelling at the same time, Kamito forced divine power into the sacred sword he gripped tightly.
Light and darkness were in stalemate once more. Sparks exploded from where the blades met.
Suddenly, Kamito felt a sharp pain from the spirit seal on his left hand.
--It's futile. In your current state, you cannot defeat Nepenthes Lore.
Restia's voice resounded in his mind directly.
She was speaking directly to Kamito's mind through the spirit seal.
--Awaken, Kamito. Show me your true power.
(...My true power?)
--Yes. Powerful enough to kill them, the true power of the Demon King.
(...With that power, will I be able to protect my comrades?)
Kamito asked in his heart as he infused divine power into the shining sacred sword--
(...Can it realize your Wish from three years ago, the one that was not realized?)
--It will. Furthermore, if you don't awaken now, you'll die.
Kamito quietly closed his eyes.
The Demon King's power lying dormant in Kamito's body. Kamito still had no idea what she was talking about, but it seemed like he would be able to protect his comrades if he took possession of that power.
Kamito in his current state desperately wished to reach out for that power.
"...I'm sorry. I'm not interested in that sort of unknown power."
As Kamito smiled fearlessly, he could feel Restia's dumbfounded surprise.
"Didn't I mention it just now? I have obtained new power."
...Very soon. That power was about to arrive.
"--Such as her, this sword spirit Est."
The precious partner who broke free from the shadow of tragedy and returned to Kamito's side.
As well as--
Kamito kicked at Nepenthes Lore's shoulder and leaped back.
The demon sword of darkness swung down.
Together with black mud, it approached Kamito forcefully--
In that very instant, a crimson slash lit the dark night on fire.
"--Turn into charcoal!"
As soon as they made contact with the chaotic flurry of flames, the dark tentacles disappeared without trace.
A burning wall of a flame illuminated the girl's figure a bright fiery red.
Those eyes of rubies shone with unyielding spirit. Her red twintails fluttered in the wind.
"--I've been waiting for you, Claire!"
Kamito made a thumbs up sign at the hell cat girl, standing proudly with Flametongue wielded in her hand.
"Kamito, I am here as well!"
"Kamito-san, me too!"
Ellis, armed with Ray Hawk, and Rinslet with Magic Bow of Ice also arrived.
"Don't forget, this Blade Dance festival is a team fight."
Kamito believed in his teammates whom, at the same time, also believed in him.
"--This is the power I did not have three years ago, Restia."
The four teammates swiftly entered into formation and faced off against the roaring Nepenthes Lore.