Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance:Volume2 Chapter7
 Chapter 7: The Abandoned-Mine Battle
 Part 1
It was the dead of the night when, after riding their horses throughout the day, the party reached the entrance of Mine Town.
Since all the members rode here practically without rest, they were totally exhausted.
However, it wasn't possible to have a carefree rest.
"This is Mine Town Gado... It's like a ghost town."
Rinslet, who dismounted from the horse, calmly muttered.
"It's because several decades have passed since it became an abandoned mine. There should be no humans living here."
Claire squinted her eyes staring deep into the darkness.
Bluish-white will-o'-wisps were wavering here and there near a ruin.
They were low-rank spirits that were floating about. For this sort of ruin, there were many nasty spirits gathered.
It was just like how the «Spirit Forest» was at night.
On the other side of the abandoned town, still containing countless abandoned tunnels, huge mines stood towering over the surroundings.
Gado Mine— It once produced a large quantity of spirit crystals, it was the Empire's largest mine.
During the war, the spirit crystals were dug up and exhausted, and it hadn't even been twenty years since it became an abandoned mine.
Below that mine, Jormungandrthe strategic-class militarized spirit was sleeping; sealed by the Ordesia Knights of that time.
"—By the way, you better get away from him."
Claire glared at Fianna, who was tightly clinging onto Kamito's arm.
"I don't want to, after all, Kamito-kun will protect me."
"You may be in a position to be protected. However, to begin with, what's the matter with your contracted spirit? As that elementalist might be hiding in ambush, have it in a state where you can use it immediately."
Fianna's words were unusually hesitant.
She tightly closed her lips and abruptly turned away.
"I-It still isn't the time. The contracted spirit of the Ordesia royal family must not be summoned so indiscreetly. It's clearly different from your cat."
"Wh-What was that...!"
The ground where the four were standing on suddenly shook greatly.
"It seems like we had better hurry. I have a bad premonition."
Claire softly muttered, and in her palm, a spirit magic fire was lighted.
The place of their objective was found instantly without even searching.
At the deepest part of the main street going through the abandoned town— before the entrance of the mine, there was a gigantic grand shrine.
It was a splendid shrine that made use of several gigantic stone pillars.
A grand shrine of this scale existed only in the capital even in the Ordesia Empire.
"How terrible, this..."
The grand shrine —which had its sculptures destroyed, had the spirit crystals inlaid in its stone pillar robbed and had once entertained the spirits— had transformed into a ruin that was even tragic to look at.
The one, who noticed the unusual phenomenon, was Fianna, who had received training as Queen.
"This shrine, despite being in such ruins, shows traces of someone taking the trouble to perform a ritual. Furthermore, many times over the period of these several months."
Nodding at Claire, who was frowning, with a serious face, Fianna kneeled onto the ground.
It seemed that she was looking for footprints and traces of scrape marks and so forth that were on the stone paving.
"This dance— is probably the Ritual of Releasing. It seems that it was more or less arranged, though."
"The Ritual of Releasing..."
Kamito groaned in a low tone.
It was because he remembered how the elementalist, who was also a male elementalist just like Kamito, assailed the academy and took away the highly classified material concerning the seal specification.
(Is that brat really planning on releasing the sealed Jormungandr strategic-class militarized spirit?)
It was impossible for any kind of elementalist to control Jormungandr individually.
If that was the case, what was his goal?
At any rate, if the spirit's seal was undone, it was certain that the towns in the vicinity would be turned into scorched earth.
"Is the seal almost undone?"
"No, it's still alright. This shrine isn't the superior «true shrine»."
"The «true shrine»...? What do you mean?"
"The grand shrine here, at most, it's purpose was to camouflage the original shrine— Which should be at an important place like the mine. There were many splendid grand shrines built needlessly above ground to hide the existence of the original shrine. Of course, it doesn't mean that this shrine isn't usable, though."
"That means there's a real shrine somewhere?"
"Yes, it's mostly likely being hidden deep in the mine."
Fianna raised her head, and at that moment.
"Be careful, there's something here!"
Rinslet, who was on a lookout of their surroundings, suddenly shouted.
Kamito turned around—
In the surroundings of the shrine that the four of them were in, there was a wriggling crowd of figures of people.
"Humans? No, they're—"
Claire recited the incantation, and a spirit magic fire lit in an empty space.
The figures that were shone by the flame's light were—
It was a crowd of skeletons holding rusty swords and clubs in their hands.
From the gap of their bones, something like a black fog was being emitted out.
"What, are these... spirits!?"
"The skeletons that were left behind seem to be possessed by low-rank spirits."
While muttering— Kamito noticed something with a "hmm".
Claire was slightly holding onto Kamito's uniform sleeve.
"...You, by any chance, are you weak against horror-ish things like these?"
"Th-That's not it— Who do you think I am?!"
"You don't have to push yourself, look out, hold on."
"...I-It's not anything scary."
Claire, who was hiding her face while biting her lips, was a little cute.
"At any rate, it's strange—"
Normally, the so-called low-rank spirits don't possess a distinct self.
Even if there were rare times when they attacked humans, there shouldn't be a time when they formed a group like this.
"Kamito-kun, these guys, you know. They are the ones doing the ritual here."
"What was that?"
Kamito was surprised and turned around. Fianna nodded.
"The movements of those skeletons are pretty rough, but...it's just like the Ritual of Releasing."
"Don't tell me, the low-rank spirits were doing an advanced Ritual of Releasing?"
Kamito stared at the approaching figures. Now that she mentioned it, he could see that the skeletons possessed by the spirits were moving with a fixed regularity.
"No, such a thing is impossible... There has to be some practitioner manipulating the spirits."
"Well, does it mean that these guys won't come to attack us?"
Claire tightly griped Kamito's sleeve as she said that.
The group of skeletons went up the stairs of the shrine, walking in a slow manner.
"Freezing ice fang, pierce «Freezing Arrow»!"
The ice arrow, released by Rinslet, collected and mowed down the group of wriggling skeletons.
It was the high-rank demon ice spirit «Fenrir's» elemental waffe.
To an elementalist, an enemy of this level was only small fry.
From the broken skeletons, a black fog spouted out and vanished into an empty space.
"That's a darkness attribute spirit—"
Suddenly, a flash occurred in Kamito's mind.
(Don't tell me—)
He cast his sight to his left hand covered by his black leather glove.
A piercing-like pain was running in his engraved spirit seal, at that moment—
The sound of a terrible explosion came from the direction of the mine.
"Don't tell me the battle is beginning!?"
"Let's go, Kamito!"
Claire sounded her whip with a snap, and began running.
 Part 2
It was the spirit crystal mine that towered above the abandoned town. They finally arrived at its entrance—
From within the tunnel, the violent sound of weapons reverberated.
In the deep darkness where Claire pointed at, an intense flash occurred.
The one who was fighting, was Ellis Fahrengart, wielding her elemental waffe lance.
Her ponytail hair was fluttering in the thunderous-blowing wind.
Her appearance showed that she had her Knights armor destroyed and was covered in lacerations. From that, he could see that she had wounds all over her body.
"Ha, as expected of Captain-sama, you've entertained me considerably, haven't you?!"
A loud ear-splitting laughter resounded in the tunnel.
Before Ellis, stood a boy with glaring shiny red eyes.
Jio Inzagi— A male elementalist, who called himself the successor of the Demon King.
Rakka and Reishia, lay collapsed at his feet, injured.
"You bastard, my comrades, how dare you—"
Ellis swung her «Ray Hawk».
The tunnel wall was destroyed, and the hard bedrock was smashed up like glass.
Jio gave a shrilling laugh as he jumped up. It was not a movement possible for humans— there might be some body-strengthening-spirit possessing him.
"Hey, hey, is that it? Is being a part of the Knights, just a children's game?"
Ellis raged at the insult towards the Knights.
"Evil wind, thou, become countless blades and cut up my enemies—"
She released the power of her «Ray Hawk» — the elemental waffe of her demon wind spirit «Simorgh».
It was a spear that created blades of wind, something that tormented Kamito in their duel at the academy. Even if he were to avoid it by a paper-thin margin, the countless wind blades that were additionally invoked would cut the target into shreds—
"How reckless— reflect it, Mirror WallDemon Mirror Spirit!"
The moment Jio shouted, a shiny red mirror appeared before Ellis.
When the wings of her lance of wind, clad in wind, touched the mirror surface; the countless wind blades turned to bare their teeth towards Ellis.
Cut up by the blades' while boisterously dancing, Ellis's body was thrown into a wall.
Kamito ran with Terminus Est in his hand.
Having seemed to already notice their presence— Jio turned around, and sneered.
"Yo, more idiots are squirming out."
Kamito's movement stopped for a moment in response to hearing Claire's voice from behind.
At that moment, an engraved spirit seal on Jio's right arm glowed—
"—It's fine till the inside of their lungs are sore, manifest, RafflesiaRotting Poison Spirit!"
A thick bluish purple smog gushed out with tremendous force.
The skin-burning smog of poison wrapped Kamito's whole body, and was invading his lungs—
Pain was running in his eyes. His throat was hot as if it was being burned.
From the gaps between his fingers covering his mouth, blood spilled out and dripped onto the ground.
(This is a poison attribute spirit... is this smog itself its elemental waffe!?)
A muttering groan echoed in the tunnel.
Bearing the burning-like pain, Kamito opened his eyes slightly.
Ellis and the two girls, flat-out bathed in the poison smog, were cowering and in agony.
His throat muscles had a spasm, so he couldn't speak out satisfactorily. It was still possible to stand over here, but if he continued to advance, he would lose his consciousness before reaching the girls.
(...Why didn't he receive the poison?)
A wide range extermination type spirit like Rafflesia couldn't be handled normally.
As controlling it was hard, if he did it poorly, he would end up dragging himself into the smog too.
However, Jio Inzagi was calmly standing in the smog of deadly poison.
—Then, Kamito noticed it.
There was a slight wind flow in the boy's surroundings.
(...I see, he's using a wind attribute spirit at the same time!)
An elementalist that uses multiple contracted spirits— in that case, by combining the powers of the other spirits, he heard that they could also use a spirit that would be originally too much to handle.
"...Damn, isn't that almost like cheating?!"
Kamito cursed in his heart.
(If it was Rinslet's demon bow, could she shoot from outside the smog's effective range?)
He turned around and peeked behind, but—
Rinslet nocked her ice arrow, and without moving, she affixed her aim at Jio.
(—She isn't shooting?)
Rinslet's judgment was correct.
Jio was displaying Mirror WallDemon Mirror Spirit, which had reflected Ellis's elemental waffe.
If she shot poorly, she might end up finishing off Ellis and the others, who had collapsed nearby.
It seemed that Claire was standing like she was covering for Fianna, who was performing an aria with her fire attribute elemental waffe.
It was a mere second of thought, but meanwhile, the bodies of Ellis and the others were being eaten into by the poison.
His body was experiencing a burning-like irritation.
—At that moment.
In the dark tunnel, a faint rumbling resounded.
"Oh...winds, mow down my enemies— «Wind Bombs»!"
At that moment, the lump of violent wind released blew away the fog of poison without leaving a trace.
Ellis pierced her demon lance of wind onto the ground, and stood up.
Her stab-proof uniform was cut up, and her whole body was full of wounds.
Both her legs, which were covered in her torn stockings, were having severe cramps.
Even so, the appearance of her standing up frigidly and firmly was—
Beautiful to the extent that he was spontaneously charmed.
Ellis prepared her elemental waffe lance, then she glared at Jio and declared in a hoarse voice.
"Putting the pride of the Sylphid Knights on the line, even if I lose... you will be defeated!"
"That hurt... you death escapee."
Jio, who received a direct hit from the violent wind, warped his lips, and clicked his tongue.
"If that's the case, I'll beat you to death as you wish!"
The spirit seals engraved on Jio's whole body ominously glowed—
"—Like I'll let you!"
At the same time as Kamito moved away, two blasts of fireballs were released towards Jio.
It was Claire covering him. In the moment when Jio repelled the fireballs, Kamito took his chance and accelerated— drawing close to Jio.
And then, hacking down the very space Jio was in, Kamito mowed down directly horizontally with Terminus Est.
*Gaa*— The bedrock, touched by the sword's tip, was smashed up.
"Haa, don't make such a scary face, hey!"
Jio, who dodged the sword swing, jumped up and landed on a rocky area that was about to collapse.
Without pursuing, Kamito went straight towards Ellis and the others.
Ellis was out of breath, and seemed like she was going to collapse at any time.
"Ellis, are you alright? I'll lend—"
"D-Don't do something... unnecessary."
When he tried to lend her help when she wobbled, she shook off his hand.
"I do not need all of your—"
"Don't be stubborn about trivial things, think about them."
Ellis's facial expression stiffened. Rakka and Reshia had collapsed on the ground. They seemed to be alive, but if they were left like that, their lives would be in danger.
Ellis herself was in a condition where all she could do was just barely stand.
"Guu...Kazehaya Kamito, I owe you a debt."
"It isn't something like a loan. It's natural to help my comrades."
Ellis's cheeks reddened at Kamito's words.
Laying the injured Ellis by the wall for her to rest, Kamito fixed his sights on Jio.
"You, how dare you—"
Ellis Fahrengart— She was a girl with a strong sense of justice, with her seriousness and her bravery.
Just by looking at her injured appearance, his anger surged and seemed to overflow.
"Don't get in my way, it was the long-awaited part where I beat that impertinent girl to death."
Jio smirked as he slowly got off the rocky area.
Kamito wielded his sword and glared at Jio.
"If it's a nasty rascal like you, I can seriously beat you up."
"Haa, aren't you saying something! It's too bad, but it's impossible for you to defeat me."
"We are also here!"
Claire and the others came running. Holding her Flame Tongue, she stood next to Kamito.
Rinslet nocked an arrow to her ice demon bow, and Fianna was grasping spirit crystals in both hands.
"Fianna, can I count on you for the treatment of Ellis and the others?"
"Yes, I'm holding a few healing spirit crystals. However, the effect is limited to only giving a temporary peace of mind."
Fianna nodded with a tense expression.
"Kamito, you and I will corner that guy. Rinslet will be the support artillery battery."
"What is a s-support artillery battery!? I am a splendid archer!"
Rinslet snarled, but Claire didn't respond.
"—Hey, is the discussion over?"
Jio calmly laughed as he came closer.
The spirit crest engraved on his right arm glowed ominously, and a bluish-white flash of lightning surged out.
What appeared in that hand was— the same sword elemental waffe as Est.
"Shall we find out which is stronger, GladiusSword Spirit or that sword?"
"Don't mess around. You'd better not confuse my Est with that third-grade sword spirit."
Wielding Terminus Est, Kamito ferociously roared.
 Part 3
And then, the blade dance began.
High-pitched metallic sounds reverberated together. Every time a sword flash occurred, sparks scattered within that dim light.
"Jio Inzagi— what on earth is your goal?!"
"Huh, I don't have anything like a goal. Honestly, to me, I'm indifferent about Jormungandrthe strategic-class militarized spirit. I'll defeat you and prove that I'm the successor of the Demon King— That's all."
"What successor of the Demon King? You megalomaniac rascal!"
Kamito, who stepped into his area, mowed down with Terminus Est with both hands.
The sword's pressure was tremendous. Jio promptly guarded with Gladius— however,
Together with a high-pitched metallic sound— Jio's GladiusSword Spirit was smashed to pieces.
Jio's expression distorted in shock.
"Hey, hey, what an elemental waffe— To do that to my sword spirit in one blow?"
"Sorry, my Est is the strongest sword spirit."
Kamito stepped in closer.
Jio recited a summoning, and summoned a sword spirit into his hand again.
"There's still more to come, it starts after this!"
Aiming at the sword spirit that appeared from an empty space, Kamito relentlessly swung down his sword.
There was the sound of steel shattering, and Jio's second sword spirit also tragically vanished.
In addition to making his second sword spirit vanish, Terminus Est didn't even have a chip on its edge.
It was an elemental waffe that held two names, the «Demon King Killing Sacred Sword» and «Demon Slayer».
It was terrifying because even with this, it was not in its complete state.
However, Jio still kept his composed expression.
"Hmm, in that case, this will be next!"
From the spirit seals on his whole body, flashes of lightning gushed out— a third sword appeared in Jio's hand.
(..., this guy, what the heck, how many spirits is he contracted with!?)
As expected, even Kamito's face expressed impatience.
Even the strongest sword spirit Est had a large weak point.
Her divine power consumption was too intense.
As a result of getting used to controlling it, he wouldn't suddenly faint like before, but if the battle was dragged on, he was certain that he would be exhausted eventually.
If he assumed that Jio Inzagi really was contracted to seventy-two spirits—
(It's bad if this keeps up—)
This wasn't an opponent whom he could decide the victory with one blow, like the rampaging giant spirit at Academy Town.
If this became a prolonged battle, he'd be at a disadvantage.
(...However, is that guy's divine power inexhaustible!?)
If he was using this many spirits, his divine power consumption should also rapidly increase, however—
"Kamito, I'll cover you!"
At that moment, Claire's swung her Flame Tongue, and it came flying in an arc.
There was a red hot afterglow that shone in the darkness— Her carefully-aimed whip quickly entangled Jio's face.
"Tch, don't get in my way!"
Jio summoned a spirit as a translucent ice ball, and aiming at Claire, he threw it.
"What, such a thing!"
Claire released a spirit magic fireball to intercept the ice spirit—
However, that was a trap.
The ice ball, which blasted before her eyes, transformed into countless needles, and cut up Claire's whole body.
Kamito's awareness strayed for a moment to Claire's scream.
"Don't look away!"
Seizing that chance, Jio quickly drove in for a slash—
Kamito barely stopped the blow with Terminus Est's edge.
However, Jio didn't slow down his attacks. He kept it up, pressing on and approaching closer—
"What's wrong, Ren AshbellStrongest Blade Dancer— Is that all you got?"
As he stopped the sword pushing him back, Kamito grit his teeth.
If he was still the Ren Ashbell of three years ago—
He was sure to not have turned towards Claire and gave Jio the chance to use his spirit.
As an elementalist, it was a fatal three year blank.
He had a contracted spirit that couldn't draw out its original power.
(Ah, it is certain that I became weak. However—)
Exhaling with a puff— Kamito suddenly jumped back.
"Freezing ice fang, pierce «Freezing Arrow»!"
At that moment, Rinslet's released ice arrow rained at the spot the two of them were at.
It was a direct hit— Jio's silhouette was swallowed up by the downpour of arrows and disappeared.
"Hmm, it is troubling that you have forgotten me!"
Placing her hand at her waist, Rinslet quickly brushed up her platinum-blonde hair.
While Kamito was stopping the sword, she was holding an aim affixed on him.
From the crumbled rocky area, there was a thick cloud of dust rising up.
They didn't think he could be fine after receiving that rain of arrows.
"Hn, did you do something just now?"
Jio— stood up from within the cloud of dust.
He smirked, and turned to Rinslet.
"No way...it should have been a direct hit!?"
"«Argos» — an earth spirit that protects its elementalist automatically."
From Jio's surroundings, cones of rocks were pierced out from the ground and standing tall.
Her Freezing Arrow was defended by that.
"...What a thing..."
"And then, this fellow, uh— can also be used in such a way."
Jio turned over his wrist.
At that moment, cones pierced out from the ground at Rinslet's feet, and crucified her to the wall.
Her academy uniform was torn to pieces, and fine textured white skin became exposed.
With both her arms placed in crucifixion, Rinslet bit her lips in shame.
"Guu...Th-This is unforgivable... to do such... to me..."
Glaring firmly at Jio, Rinslet's body quivered, seemingly vexed.
Kamito raged, and attacked with Terminus Est.
The massive slash collected and destroyed the cones standing in a line, and came close to Jio—
However, it was till that extent.
Terminus Est which was a large-sized sword suddenly became a small-sized short sword.
It was the result of Est, who consumed a huge amount of divine power, being unable to maintain her form as an elemental waffe.
"Ren Ashbell— you're no longer the strongest blade dancer."
"That may be so. After all, I had a three year blank."
"No, that's not it. The reason you became weak is—"
At that moment, a spear of light was born in Jio's palm.
It wasn't a close range weapon, it was a shooting-type elemental waffe.
Kamito, who made a judgment in an instant, was about to dodge, but—
Just before that, he realized Jio's aim.
"Something like this!"
It wasn't an attack aimed at Kamito.
The spear of light—
Was pointed and released toward Fianna and the injured female Knights behind Kamito.
Kamito thrust himself in the way at once, and caught the spear of light with his whole body.
 Part 4
Fianna, who was treating Ellis and the others, raised her face startled.
At that moment, a dazzling flash was produced, and an eardrum-bursting explosion reverberated.
She reflexively closed her eyes. The fragments of rubble, which came flying, struck her whole body.
...Before long, the thunderous sound lessened.
She moaned in pain, as she slowly opened her eyes—
Before her, Kamito, who was injured, had collapsed.
"...Fia...na... are you alright?"
Kamito pierced Terminus Est through the ground, placed his knees on the ground, and tried to stand up.
Having received a direct hit at point-blank range, his academy uniform, which excelled in its defensive abilities, had turned into shreds.
He seemed to be enduring the pain, and cold sweat was flowing on his forehead.
Fianna quickly surveyed her surroundings.
Ellis and her two female comrades had collapsed. They were especially not in a condition that they could stand up.
Claire was injured and had lost consciousness, and Rinslet was placed in a crucifixion on the wall.
And then— from the front, Jio Inzagi was slowly walking.
—Almost like a death god.
"That's your weakness. I don't care whether or not it was subconsciously, but you have been continuously taking notice of the fellows behind as you were fighting."
Kamito commanded Fianna, who was about to approach, with his hand.
With that body, there's no way he could fight.
He also couldn't sufficiently use his elemental waffe, and it was a hopeless situation even at best, and yet despite that—
"I do not want to lose important things— never again."
Kamito faced the front, and stood up.
It wasn't the light of hope in his eyes. What was dwelling in his pupils was dark despair.
And yet, he stood up.
This boy was once called the Ren AshbellStrongest Blade Dancer.
Jio shrugged his shoulders like he rapidly lost interest.
And then, told him in a cruel voice.
"—I see. Well then, die."
The spirit seal all over his body emitted a glow, and a black fog coiled around his right hand.
"ThanatosDeath Spirit— it is one of the strongest spirits I have. I received it from your contracted spirit."
"My... contracted spirit...?"
Kamito muttered in a dry voice.
"...Don't tell me...this is about Restia—!?"
His fingertip, which was clad in death approached Kamito who couldn't move sufficiently— just before that.
Fianna brushed back her long black hair, and quickly stood up.
"Hey, could you please not touch my things so thoughtlessly?"
Jio— was so shocked that he opened his mouth.
Kamito gazed at her face profile with a dumbfounded expression as well.
"Move aside, Kamito-kun."
Fianna calmly stood before Jio and blocked his way.
"Hey, is something wrong with your head, ojou-sama?"
"Watch your mouth, who do you think I am?"
Fianna fixed a glare directly at Jio, who sneered.
Four years ago— It was like that time when she stood before and blocked the Calamity Queen.
"Fianna, you idiot, run away!"
Claire, who crawled out from the mountain of rubble, shouted.
Fianna slowly shook her head—
(You protected me— That's why this time, I'll protect you!)
"—I'll tell you my name, Fianna Ray Ordesia, the Ordesia Empire's second royal princess!"
"—I am a punisher as an impartial enforcer, and one who hands down holy judgment in the king's name!"
At that moment, a dazzling flash was produced from Fianna's bosom.
Yes, the oath she shouted just now was indeed— the spirit's releasing keywords.
She quickly untied the string at her bosom, and a shiny red stone tumbled down into her palm.
It was a blood-like red spirit crystal that was processed like a comma-shaped jewel.
"No way, that's... don't tell me, the Blood Stone!?"
Claire, who realized its true identity, widened her eyes.
He might have felt some sort of instinctive threat, as Jio released Thanatos at the girl before him—
"Come out, thou, the sword of judgment that buries the darkness— Sacred King of Destruction «Magna Carta»!"
The red spirit crystal exploded.
There was a dazzling flash. An enormous pillar of light went through Jio Inzagi.
And then— together with the thunderous sound, the tunnel's ceiling collapsed.
 References and Translation Notes
- See Magatama.