Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume9 Prologue
—The night before the finale.
Immediately following the moment when the style in which the match finals would be conducted was announced at the grand shrine of Ragna Ys.
Under the cover of the night, one small flying boat landed in the middle of a forest.
The ship’s nationality was cleverly disguised, but it was actually the Alphas Theocracy’s high speed smuggling boat, loaded with a militarized spirit.
“…You’re finally here.”
There was a small sanctuary built within the forest.
At the front of the door, Lily Flame had been waiting for the boat.
From the entrance of the boat that landed without a sound, a group of priests, wearing jet-black robes alighted.
There were twenty of them. All of them had covered their faces with black cloth, but it could be easily inferred from their quick movements that they were trained combat specialists.
They were members of the Demon King cult's secret agency—Snake.
“—You sure took your time. I got tired of waiting.”
The one, who turned towards them and voiced out, was—a small girl with dark gray hair.
Muir Alenstarl. Like Lily Flame, she was also an orphan of the Instructional School.
In contrast to that lovely appearance of hers, she was an elementalist in possession of dreadful and unusual powers.
“It’s because you squandered the militarized spirits without even thinking. By right, Colossus and Garuda should be used in the finals, and yet—”
While Muir glared sideways, Lily sighed lightly.
In truth, negotiations with the Theocracy involved in the supply of militarized spirits were on the verge of breakdown until yesterday.
Had Team Inferno failed to achieve overwhelming victory in the Tempest recently, they probably would not be able to receive the support of a new militarized spirit.
—At this moment, an elderly monk stepped forward out from the group of black-robed people, and handed over to Muir a crafted box with delicate ornament added onto it.
“Be pleased. The great Hierarch has bestowed the strongest militarized spirit upon the likes of you.”
“Is it alright if we check the inside?”
The elder nodded to Lily’s affirmation.
“The strongest militarized spirit—Huh? I wonder if this one would be usable?”
Muir casually opened the crafted box.
Stored in the box was—a dimly shining silver bracelet.
From an outsider’s perspective, it looked like some mediocre bracelet. However, the truth was that almost all of the many legend-class magic tools were of modest design without exquisite ornaments.
(The material is highly pure mithril?—)
The words engraved on its surface belonged to the lost language of High Ancient.
Lily squinted her red eyes characteristic of the Elfim race and read out the name carved over there.
“…Valaraukar!? Don’t tell me, that demon ruling over flames of ruination—”
A shiver ran down her spine. That was the true name of the archdemon that destroyed countless number of cities and countries in the far ancient times—the period of the Spirit War.
(—The Theocracy's Snake actually prepared such a spirit.)
It had the highest ranking battle strength for a militarized spirit possessed by the state.
Even Muir, who was usually composed, couldn’t conceal her surprise as expected.
However, like she wasn’t concerned about Lily’s trembling,
“It’s pretty boorish and isn’t something of Onii-sama’s liking.”
Muir put the bracelet onto her slender arm and spoke out her dissatisfaction.
It was the highest ranking tactical-class militarized spirit that could destroy a city singlehandedly.
However, to her, it was only one of her mere tools.
Driving spirits mad and exhausting their very existence, her weird power—Jester’s Vise.
That was what it meant to the Monster born with such a curse-like superpower.
“—You girls don’t have the right to have an opinion. Assassination puppets of the Instructional School.”
A ghastly voice could be heard from somewhere.
“Team Inferno is no more than the Hierarch’s pawn. Pawns should just play their assigned roles.”
From the darkness of the night, appearing like a mist was—
With blue hair reminiscent of snake scales, it was a girl wearing a lascivious clothing of a foreign nation’s custom.
The moment she showed up, the members of Snake prostrated themselves all at once.
“Sjora Kahn! Where have you been—”
Lily swallowed her words of complaint just before finishing her question.
She had already grasped that this witch had kidnapped Fianna Rey Ordesia by her own judgment in the midst of Tempest.
That was a clear act of disloyalty to Cardinal, Lily’s master.
(I knew that that girl wasn’t someone that could be trusted from the beginning.)
The Theocracy's Snake was, after all, only related to an alliance formed out of their interest.
It was easy to reproach her of an act of treachery at this place, but it wasn’t a good plan to aggravate the relations with the Theocracy.
(…I’ll definitely make you atone for that.)
Lily stopped glaring at the witch silently, but in the next moment.
“Hey, are you ordering Muir? Despite that you’re a small fry beaten by Onii-sama.”
Lily subconsciously gulped in response to those provoking words coming from Muir’s mouth.
Then, the smiling composure disappeared from Sjora Kahn’s face.
“…What… was that?”
Her snake-like red eyes, filled with never-ending hatred, turned towards Muir.
“Oh, do you want to do it here? I’m quite alright for it, you know?”
Muir expressed a fearless smile.
“Onee-chan, if you fought with me, you’d die, you know?”
Sjora’s cheeks slightly twitched.
Muir Alenstarl’s power as an elementalist was out of the norm. Even though the Theocracy's witch possessed considerable power, purely in terms of genuine battle skills, she could hardly match the graduates of the Instructional School.
Muir had already put on the bracelet of Valaraukar. If she released the militarized spirit here, the forest vicinity would vanish in an instant.
“Muir, stop it!”
Lily desperately shouted.
“What, Lily, are you ordering Muir?”
“If you cause an uproar here, you might lose the right to be a participant in the finals.”
Then, Muir puffed her cheeks sullenly.
“…I can’t help it then. I would hate it to be unable to play with Onii-sama at the finals.”
Reluctantly, she put her arms down.
Lily breathed a sigh of relief.
Muir turned around as if she lost interest in Sjora.
“Now that we’ve taken the toy, we have no use for such a boring place. Let’s go, Lily. We’re going to miss the screening of the final of The Three Cat Knights.
“W-Wait up, Muir…”
Lily hurriedly chased after Muir who ran into the darkness.
While she glared at the darkness the two ran into—
“—Those lowly assassins…”
The Theocracy’s witch Sjora Kahn intensely bit down on her molars.
Originally, Team Inferno was nothing more than mercenaries the Theocracy had hired. In spite of that, that girl claiming to be Ren Ashbell was taking action on her own accord.
Even that was annoying but—
(… That girl interfered with my plan.)
Sjora was so filled with rage that she could feel her insides boiling.
The one who released Sjora's captive, the Darkness Queen candidate—Fianna Ray Ordesia, was her without a doubt.
Had she not released the Ordesia princess at the time, Sjora would not have suffered such an unsightly defeat.
“…I’ll definitely not let this pass. That girl, those conceited brats from Instructional School, the girls in Team Scarlet, and Kazehaya Kamito—Everyone, everyone, everyone, everyone will be killed by my very hands.”
Her charming red lips quivered in hatred. Her defeat at Pandemonium was etched as an unerasable humiliation into Sjora’s memories.
The elder of Snake opened his mouth as he remained prostrated on the ground.
“What is it?”
“It’s regarding your request, but we are definitely in possession of it.”
“Ah, is that so?”
At that moment, Sjora smiled with satisfaction.
That’s right, that was her goal for appearing here.
“It's here now, right? Show it to me.”
The elder nodded, and respectfully held up a small ring taken from the sleeves of his robe.
“Fufu, this is…”
Putting the ring on her right ring finger, the witch smiled in satisfaction.
Sealed in the ring was a spirit that would form a pair with the demon Baldanders.
“The one who takes everything by force—Bandersnatch. With this, I’ll…”
Sjora Kahn was gazing at the ring with a rapturous expression,
“—And, one more thing. There’s a message for you, princess.”
The Snake elder continued with a flat tone.
“Yes—from our Hierarch-sama.”
Rosy tones flashed across Sjora’s cheeks.
Years had passed since the Snake's Hierarch last bestowed any words upon her.
“R-Really—no, so, what did Hierarch-sama say?”
The elder shortly nodded at the witch, who was hurriedly pressing on,
“Useless puppet, I shall take over from now onwards—he said.”
Without the time to understand the meaning of those words—
All twenty members of Snake present unsheathed their blades at the same time.
In an instant, the group of black robes rushed in. Silver flashes occurred in the darkness of the night, and twenty blades pierced the entire body of the witch.
“…Ha… You guys, what—!”
“All is within your plans. Princess, as one who has inherited royal blood, you shall now be the new vessel to incarnate the Hierarch.”
“…Ha, I was deceived… ug…”
“All in accordance with Hierarch-sama's guidance.”
The group that pierced the witch’s whole body sung the incantation in spirit language.
From the edges of the blades, violent flashes of lightning gushed out and mowed down the surrounding trees.
That sight seemed to be a ritual to summon an even stronger spirit.
The witch gasped as she reached her hand out to the sky—
Her body suddenly made a shaking motion.
Tearing up the silent, the loud laughter resounded in the stillness of the night.
“—As expected of the descendant of the royalty, I’ve nothing to criticize about its disposition as a vessel!”
“Hierarch-sama, that body is a temporary vessel. Please do not forget that.”
“I don’t need you to tell me that. It’s a little cramped, but I’ll endure until I obtain a proper body.”
He glanced at the prostrating group with a bored-look,
“The one to have the last laugh will be me.—Hello there, the other Demon King.”
The thing that had Sjora’s appearance wickedly distorted her lips.