Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance Volume 8, Chapter 1 – Victory Celebration

A “hamam” is a Turkish bath. Please see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_bath.

Note that I have put “ear-splitting” scream at one part but the original says “裏返ったような悲鳴” which is literally “a scream like turning inside out”. I can’t think of any English equivalents despite deliberating it for a while and asking other people, so I’d like to request suggestions for what to replace this with. If you think you have the right phrase for the job, please post it in the comments.

“Tsukkomi” means the “riposte” or otherwise “retort” that one gives when faced with an absurd statement. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manzai for detail. Example: “We’ve grown so much in these last few years. A few more and we may be touching the roof.” with “Like you’ll grow that tall!” This example courtesy of the Little Busters! VN from Key. I probably messed it up a bit, but I’m not going through Rin’s route just to check.

It literally says “action drama/play” (活動劇) and I’m not sure if I should be translating that as a “movie” instead. I opted to keep it literal since Kamito decides that he’d like to explain just what an “action drama” is.

Part 1

Pop! Popopopop!

Having set up a branch store in <Ragna Ys>’ business district, the empire’s prestigious cafe “La Parfait”.

Within that shop, festive noises from crackers resounded.

“Congratulations on <Team Scarlet>’s advancement into the finals!”

The one giving her blessings with a smile was the maid, Carol.

“Fuu, it was the obvious outcome with me there!”

“As expected of you, ojou-sama!”

Rinslet swept up her hair and Carol applauded her.

“Wait a second, you aren’t the only one who deserves credit.”

“Uuu……but I was always providing support from the rear, even though I also wanted to show off more on the front lines!”

“What in the world would a sniper do on the front lines……”

The bewildered Claire tsukkomi’d.

At that everyday scene before him, Kamito thought,

(……We’ve really returned, haven’t we.)

And breathed a sigh of relief in his heart.

In an isolated field, for seven days, the constantly recurring survival battles between spirit contractors — <Tempest>.

Kamito and the others’ return from that stage was already a while ago.

Being teleported to the <Divine Ritual Institute>’s grand shrine by means of transportation magic, the one who appeared before Kamito and the others was the <Fire Spirit Maiden> he had been under the care of previously, Reicha Alminas.

Standing before the nervous Kamito’s group, she wore a tender smile as she read out the <Divine Ritual Institute>’s announcement.

<Team Scarlet>’s <Magic Stone> count is nineteen stones.

Congratulations, you will be advancing to the finals as the fourth team — she had said.

At that moment, the ojou-samas who normally fought without end hugged each others’ shoulders and rejoiced.

And now, <Team Scarlet> had reserved “La Parfait” and were in the middle of a victory celebration.

“Fuaaa……peach tarts, they look so delicious.”

Claire’s red twintails bobbed in a happy manner.

Atop the large wooden table, parfaits laden with cream like works of art, colorful ice cream, fragrant baked sweets, fruit combination platters and a wide variety of cakes were lined up.

“……Th, this squirrel-shaped cake is also cute. It’s a pity that it’s for eating.”

“This cream puff has raspberries in it. It will serve as a good reference.”

Gathered in front of the sweet confections, the girls that were frolicking innocently.

……Somehow, it made one want to smile just looking at it.

“It’s fun, isn’t it, this kind of thing. We couldn’t have a tea party in the middle of the real battle.”

As Fianna raised a cup of black coffee, she smiled.

Yes, thanks to the pro-level cook, Rinslet, the contents of their meals were overwhelming extravagant compared to the other teams, but as expected, they had not been able to have an elegant tea party.

“That’s true. On top of that, it had been a while since we had a hot bath.”

“While in the blade dance field, we made do with purifying in only a small fountain.”

Rinslet gave a large nod in response to Claire’s words. They had purified their bodies at a hamam in the city before the party.

……Come to think of it, he could smell the the floral scent of shampoo wafting from their hair.

This was something that he had realized since the time he began living with Claire at the academy, that girls fresh out of the bath had a light and calming nice scent to them.

(……Rather, isn’t that a perverted thought.)

With lightly reddened cheeks, Kamito shook his head from side to side.

Scratch, scratch.

“Hmm?”

Looking over, the girl with silvery white hair that was sitting beside him was gazing expressionlessly at Kamito.

Mysterious violet eyes. White skin like fresh milk.

Kamito’s contracted spirit, Est.

“Kamito, is there any tofu cake?”

“No, as I expected, there doesn’t seem to be any tofu cake.”

Kamito scratched his cheek in a troubled manner.

Tofu was a specialty product from Kamito’s home town where he was born, a pudding made from soya beans.

Before, Rinslet had made him some and it seemed that Est had taken a liking to it.

“……Is that so.”

Her shoulders sunken disappointment, the legendary sword spirit.

“It’s not cake, but if you want tofu ice cream, there’s some here.”

And Claire slid the ice cream plate to her.

IMG_4310

Part 2

“……So there was some!”

Est’s eyes that had lost their light suddenly regained their brilliance.

“Tofu, tofu ♪”

While humming to herself in a song-like manner, she brought the spoon to her mouth.

That ever expressionless face became slightly lax around the edges of her mouth.

“That’s great, Est.”

While gazing at that happy-looking expression of Est’s—

Kamito remembered.

(Now that I think of it, Est wasn’t with us the last time we came here……)

At that time, Est who had saved Kamito was temporarily annihilated from this world.

Having come into contact with the memories of her previous contractor, Areishia Idriss, she had closed off her heart.

(……But just like this, Est has returned.)

Having accepted her destiny as a demon sword, she had opened her heart.

Now, Est was beside Kamito, and they were sitting with their friends around the table.

—That reality, it could truly be thought of as a miracle.

Kamito placed his hand upon the head of Est who was eating ice cream and,

“Fuaa, Kamito……”

Est breathed out as she narrowed her eyes as though to indicate it felt good.

The ojou-samas glared at Kamito with dissatisfaction.

Ellis cleared her throat.

“However, we shouldn’t be glad just yet. There’s still the final battle.”

“Yes. Moreover, each of the opposing teams’ rankings were overwhelming above us.”

“……That’s true.”

A heavy atmosphere hung over the table.

The other three teams that had advanced to the finals were mostly the ones that they had expected.

In third place, the <Knights of the Dragon Emperor> led by Leonora Lancaster.

In second place, the <Sacred Spirit Knights> led by Luminaris Saint Leisched.

And of course, in first place, <Team Inferno> led by Ren Ashbell. It was said that they had annihilated nine other teams and amassed a grand total of over fifty <Magic Stones>.

“……Can we win, I wonder. Against that <Ren Ashbell>.”

Fianna dropped her empty cup with a clatter.

“Fianna, are you okay?”

“Y, yes, my hand just slipped.”

Fianna nodded as if to smooth it over.

(……What?)

Because of her attitude that was not like her usual self, Kamito had a bad feeling but—

Just then, as if to dispel the heavy atmosphere in the air, the door’s chime rang.

“Congratulations on your advancement to the finals, onee-sama!”

“Oh my, Mireille!”

Rinslet got up from her seat.

The one who opened the door and entered was—

Platinum blonde hair that shone as it was basked with sunlight. Glassy emerald eyes.

With a blue ribbon that suited her well, a lovely girl.

Rinslet’s youngest sister, Mireille Laurenfrost.

Mireille dashed towards Rinslet and buried her face in her bosom.

“Onee-sama, it was really great!”

“J, jeez, Mireille……with everyone looking, this is immodest!”

Rinslet scolded Mireille with a red face.

……It seemed even a level-headed ojou-sama went easy only on her little sisters.

“Ohh, I’d heard about it, but she’s really a cute kid.”

Claire murmured that and Mireille separated her face from Rinslet and turned in her direction.

“Ahh, onee-sama’s friend from the academy, Claire-sama?”

“Yes, that’s me.”

Mireille gave a polite bow and,

“Nice to meet you! I had heard that Claire-sama was onee-sama’s very close frie—mogogogo……”

In an instant, Rinslet had hurriedly covered her little sister’s mouth.

“Wh, whwhwh, what is this girl saying, I wonder!”

“Mogogogogo~!”

“She’s as attached to you as ever, Rinslet.”

The wryly smiling Kamito.

Mireille escaped from Rinslet’s hand and,

“Onii-sama!”

This time a sun-like smile turned towards Kamito.

“Onii-sama’s blade dance was really cool!”

“……Yeah, thank you.”

Kamito scratched his cheek in slight embarrassment.

Even if the one doing it was a nine-year old girl, being complimented so openly was embarrassing.

“……Hey, Kamito, what does she mean by onii-sama?”

Claire glared at him with an irritated face.

“Kamito, you’ve once again deceived a young girl……”

“Even if thirteen years old is forgivable, I expect that nine years old is a crime……”

Ellis and Fianna also turned ice-like glares towards him.

“Wai, wait a second, onii-sama doesn’t necessarily have that meaning—”

“Kamito is my onii-chan.”

While still expressionless, Est clung onto Kamito’s waist from behind.

“That’s also wrong! Rinslet, please clear up this misunderstanding!”

“Th, that’s right! That Kamito-san is Mireille’s onii-sama means, basically, th, thth, that I am, Kamito-san’s……”

With a red face, Rinslet mumbled incoherently.

“Fufuu, onee-sama’s being cute.”

Mireille put her hand to her mouth and laughed innocently.

—And at that moment.

“Mireille, don’t trouble your sister.”

From the direction of the front door, a quiet voice came.

“……?”

Everyone turned to face that direction and a small girl wearing a white uniform with a red line was standing there.

Dark brown hair resembling a loose web. Noble, doll-like features.

And the most eye-catching of all, her azure right eye and amber left eye.

The mismatched odd eyes.

“……Milla!?”

Kamito let out a surprised voice.

The one standing silently by the door was Rossvale’s representative, the <Rupture Division>’s captain, Milla Bassett.

“Kamito, congratulations on your advancement to the finals.”

Milla muttered that in her usual robotic manner and,

Briskly walked to them and grabbed Mireille by the nape of her neck.

“Wh, what are you doing!”

Mireille struggled.

“……Ummm, what’s going on?”

“I have become Mireille-sama’s personal maid.”

“Hah?”

“I suggested it. Milla-san is, from hereon, a maid of the Laurenfrost house serving Mireille.”

At Rinslet’s words, Milla nodded wordlessly.

“I am truly thankful to Rinslet……I already cannot return to the motherland.”

With her head slightly downcast, she gently touched her left eye that had lost its light.

<Sealed Magic Eye> — carrying a powerful <Sealed Spirit> from birth, it was an extremely rare trait.

It was an existence which could be said to have been the <Rupture Division>’s trump card, but in order to protect Kamito and the others, she had released the spirit within her <Sealed Magic Eye> and lost the power as a result.

Her actions which were an abandonment of victory were, in the eyes of the motherland, a clear betrayal. They Principality of Rossvale might be targeting her.

Considering that, accepting the protection of the Laurenfrost house which was one of the foremost nobilities in the major power Ordesia was truly something that could be called a good decision.

“Kamito—”

Milla looked straight at Kamito with her heterochromatic eyes.

“I do not regret my decision back then. Because I chose it myself.”

“……I see. You’re strong, Milla.”

“—No. It’s because Kamito taught me how to live other than as a tool.”

Milla shook her head sideways and had a faint joyful smile on her.

“Milla, come eat cake with us.”

Claire invited Milla over.

Despite appearances, she was unexpectedly someone who had good points like watching over others.

“But, I—”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. We’re allies with the <Rupture Division>, after all.”

“Sharing a cup of tea with one’s mistress is an important task for a maid!”

Whilst picking up cake, Carol said so with a smile.

(……That’s just because Carol wants to eats sweets, isn’t it.)

Kamito tsukkomi’d that in him heart but,

“If it’s like that, then—”

Obediently trusting in her maid senpai’s word, Milla sat down next to Mireille.

“Come to think of it, Milla’s still wearing her uniform from the <Rupture Division>.”

Comparing it with Carol’s attire, Kamito voiced that question and,

“We are currently in the process of tailoring a cute maid uniform.”

“Yes……”

In response to Rinslet’s reply, Milla nodded while fidgeting like she couldn’t calm down.

……It might unexpectedly be something to look forward to.

“……Milla in a maid outfit, huh. It feels like it would suit you well.”

“Wh, what are you saying……!”

When Milla’s face flushed red, that moment.

The front door’s chimes rang again.

“Who is it this time?”

Kamito turned his gaze in that direction and,

“Hmm, I’ve come, Kazehaya Kamito!”

“Geh!”

The one at the entrance was a small statured girl with her hair bound into a dango shape.

The <Four Gods>’ imperial princess, Linfa Sin Quina.

“What’s with that geh! That’s extremely rude to me!”

With her traditional Quina Empire garments waving, she rapidly approached him.

“Ah, no, sor……rather, what’s the princess of the <Four Gods> doing here?”

“A delivery. I came to congratulate you on your advancement into the finals.”

“Shao!”

The one who poked their face out from behind Linfa was the <Four Gods>’ ace, Shao Fu of the <Byakko>.

And then continuing on—

“Sending salt to the enemy in a Quina Empire tradition.”

“We’ve brought a lot with us!”

“You’re holding a party is a fairly cramped place……”

Lao of <Seiryuu>, Haqua of <Genbu> and Leon of <Suzaku> also appeared.

Each of them was carrying many bags of food.

“There’s deep fried pork buns and skewered bird. They’re famed products of Quina Empire.”

The many foods being heaped upon the table. All of a sudden, the interior of “La Parfait” was permeated with the fragrant smell of grilled meat.

“Y, you people, this is a noble’s tea party!”

Rinslet raised an objection but,

“It’s the middle of a party, so don’t say such uptight stuff.”

Linfa’s group became sitting down without reservation.

“……~!”

“……Well, fine. Since we received their help in rescuing Fianna.”

Claire shrugged her shoulders like she was astonished.

“Kamito—”

With that, Shao came over and sat on Kamito’s lap.

The <Four Gods>’ ace thrust a grilled chicken skewer into the table and smiled wryly.

“To be honest, it’s a pity that we can’t fight Kamito in the finals.”

“If I remember, you and Linfa fought against Leonora’s team by yourselves on the last day.”

“Yeah. It was a fight that wouldn’t shame the <Four Gods>’ name. But they really were strong, those girls.”

Shao sighed.

But that expression had no regret in it; rather, something joyful could be felt.

If they had chosen a lower ranked team, they could have possibly obtained <Magic Stones>, but they had selected those <Knights of the Dragon Emperor> as their final opponent.

He wondered if that was due to the disposition of the <Four Gods>’ ace.

“We’ll be cheering on <Team Scarlet> in the finals.”

“Yeah, thanks.”

In order to face their respective battles, the two exchanged a solid handshake.

IMG_4321

Part 3

“……Whew, I’m stuffed.”

“Even though it was a food from a stall, it was pretty good.”

Claire who was rubbing her stomach and Fianna who was elegantly wiping her lips with a hankerchief.

Due to Linfa’s group’s intrusion, the party had become like a banquet, but it seemed like Claire enjoyed it anyway.

Milla had taken Mireille back to the hotel and Linfa’s group had eaten all they could and then left like a storm.

The ones left had been only <Team Scarlet> and Carol the maid. As a note, Est had eaten her fill and, possibly because she became sleepy, she had already reverted back to sword form.

“By the way, what will everyone be doing after this?”

While looking around at his teammates, Kamito asked.

Before the final battle began, it was customary practice for the <Divine Ritual Institute>’s princess maidens to offer rituals of gratitude to the <Spirit Kings>.

During that time, the representing competitors were given a two day period of rest.

“I must go report about our advancement into the finals to my father and grandfather.”

Ellis said with a meek face.

“Yeah, Ellis’ family is a warrior class house, after all.”

Kamito nodded.

“I must also visit my parents.”

Rinslet also had her filial duties as a daughter of the Laurenfrost house.

These two had come to the party even though they should have had put more precedence on those matters first.

“……Me, too. I am reluctant to meet with those people, but it can’t be helped.”

It seemed like she didn’t like being around the royal court, including the emperor and his wife. All of what had happened during the time she was called the <Lost Queen> seemed to have soured her opinion.

“It looks like we will be staying in the hotel arranged for by the empire today. Even though I wanted to finally kiss Kamito……”

“……H, hey, Fianna!?”

In response to Fianna who was sulking with her index finger in her mouth, Kamito’s heart thumped and his face flushed red.

In that way—

The girls left and the shop interior became quite silent.

In the end, the ones left consisted of only Kamito and Claire.

Putting aside Kamito who was an orphan to start with, Claire’s parents had been imprisoned following the <Calamity Queen> incident.

“……”

The two who became bored, for some reason or other, continued to sip black tea wordlessly.

“……Th, that’s right!”

The first one to speak out was Claire.

“Yeah?”

“I’ll be returning to the castle to brush up on my tactics.”

While clearing her throat in a deliberate manner, she stood from her seat.

“Yeah.”

At that time, Kamito realized it.

……Couldn’t help but realize it.

(……What a face she’s making.)

On Claire’s face, a lonely-looking expression was displayed for a moment.

(……She’s a sixteen-year old girl after all.)

Now after all this time, he remembered that.

Usually she acted firm as the team’s commander but—

With the advancement to the finals settled, her high-strung tension might have loosened a little.

Ever since that day four years ago, she had fought by herself until she met Kamito.

……There’s no way I can leave her alone. Being shown that kind of expression.

“……Wait.”

Kamito suddenly grabbed onto the the hand of Claire who was just about to leave.

“Fuaaa! Wh, whwh, what!?”

Claire’s face turned red and she let out a ear-splitting scream.

“If you’re free, then accompany me for a while.”

Part 4

“……Wait, what’s this about?”

“We’ve finally come to the city so not having fun would be such a waste.”

“We didn’t come to play around. As the academy’s representatives—”

“I know. But I think relaxing is also necessary.”

While still holding the perplexed Claire’s hand, Kamito walked along the street.

“Wh, what, that……fuaa, e, everyone’s looking at us!”

“Don’t mind it.”

“D, don’t mind it, you say, uuu……”

Maybe because holding hands was immensely embarrassing, Claire’s face was beet red.

But it was necessary with this crowd. If they let go, they would end up separated without a doubt.

(Now then, what to do……)

Kamito scratched his cheek as they walked down the main street.

Somehow he had ended up bringing her along with great zeal but—

He pondered as they walked and they arrived at a large plaza.

<Sacred Areishia Plaza> — in the plaza bearing the name of the sacred maiden that slew the demon king, a large crowd of nobles clamoured.

The topic of their discussions were, of course, the <Blade Dance> finals.

Which country’s representing team would win, how the match would be conducted, and finally, whether the <Strongest Blade Dancer> who was leading <Team Inferno> would display overwhelming strength once again in this competition.

In that kind of crowd, it seemed the faces of Kamito and the others who had advanced to the finals were already famous so stares of curiousity flooded in from around them.

There were favorable gazes amongst them, but there were also ones heavily laden with hostility here and there.

(……Well, if a minor team won, there would be those who wouldn’t like it.)

While pulling Claire’s hand, Kamito shrugged in his heart.

There might be those inside these onlookers who knew Claire as the younger sister of the <Calamity Queen>.

As expected, due to the high-born noble status they held, there were no openly rude comments being made, but even the favorable gazes didn’t give off a good feeling.

“It might be a good idea to enter some place.”

“……Th, that’s true. If possible, a place where we won’t draw attention.”

“Yeah……”

Kamito looked around the plaza for a place and—

“……Ohh, they’re showing an action drama.”

His eyes had stopped on a small theatre.

An action drama was a form of amusement where the scene of a play was copied onto a special spirit ore and then projected onto a screen.

“That kind of theatre should have a relay of the <Blade Dance> on a large projector. Since the only ones that can enter the <Grand Shrine> as spectators are the high-born nobles.

“……I see. So they show the action drama while there’s no real combat going on.”

Kamito nodded as if in admiration.

And after seeing the theatre’s signboard, she let out a gasp.

“……What is it?”

“That theatre, it’s showing <The Three Cat Swordsmen>.”

“……Cat?”

Certainly, there was a picture of three cats wielding swords on the theatre’s signboard.

“Is that a famous work?”

“Yes. I’ve only heard rumors about it though and haven’t actually seen it myself.”

Claire gazed at the signboard like she was trying to burn a hole through it.

(……It’s because she likes cats, isn’t it.)

“Okay, then let’s watch that.”

Kamito gave a wry smile as he pulled her hand and,

“Y, yeah!”

Claire nodded in a happy manner.

His heart throbbed uncontrollably at that innocent smile.

“Although saying that, it looks like there’s still some time left until the showing.”

“Ah, that’s true. What should we do?”

“Shall we look around at a nearby souvenir shop?”

And at that time.

“Hrm, it appears that you’ve been training your teammate well.”

“……!?”

Suddenly, he heard a voice from behind him.

……He couldn’t believe it. Even if Kamito had let his guard down in the town, she had approached without letting him feel even a shred of her presence.

(—And, this voice, it couldn’t be!)

He turned around and.

There stood a bewitchingly beautiful woman with a mature charm.

Ash blonde hair that stretched down to her waist. Dressed in a jet black dress that seamed to have darkness interwoven, beauty like a carving, and eyes reminiscent of a falcon that shone sharply.

“—Greyworth!?” “Academy Director!?”

Kamito and Claire yelled out at the same time and,

“It’s been a while, boy.”

She shrugged her shoulders like she was amused.

Greyworth Ciel Mais — the former number one of the empire’s celebrated <Numbers>. She had been named a hero of the Ranbal War and was the winner of the <Blade Dance> twenty four years ago.

Having taken the nickname of <Dusk Witch>, the strongest spirit contractor in the continent.

“You, why would you be here—”

Kamito scowled at the witch before him.

“Hmph, how cold.”

Greyworth slightly lifted her glasses with her fingertips and,

“Even though I expressly came here because I was worried about a pair of young lovers.”

“Wha—”

“Kamito, what is she talking about?”

Claire turned to glare at him.

“W, wait, don’t believe her!”

As if happy with watching Kamito’s panicked condition, Greyworth chuckled lightly and smiled.

“It was a joke. As academy director, isn’t coming to see what my pupils are doing a given?”

“I’m sure the <Blade Dance> is also being shown at the academy. What’s going on with the academy?”

“I have left the academy to Freya. <Sylphid> is also doing well.”

Greyworth then turned in Claire’s direction and,

“Claire Rouge. I have seen the great efforts of <Team Scarlet>. Especially in the latter half, your growth as a commander has been magnificent.”

“N, no such thing, your words are wasted on me!”

Claire stiffened up and answered.

It seemed that even the academy’s problem child was nervous before Greyworth.

For a spirit contractor girl, the name of the <Dusk Witch> held that much weight behind it.

(……Although to me, she’s just a super sadistic granny.)

Remembering the unreasonable training from three years ago, Kamito cursed in his heart.

(Still……)

Why would Greyworth visit <Astral Zero> with this timing?

There was no way it was for the purpose of spectating the battle.

To begin with, the one who had baited Kamito with information on Restia and made him participate in this <Blade Dance> was Greyworth.

(—And she also proposed that I defeat the other Ren Ashbell.)

There was no doubt that something was happening behind this time’s <Blade Dance>.

And it was likely to be a combination of several predictions. Did this witch know what the masked girl masquerading as Ren Ashbell was planning—?

“……”

He could not acquire any information from Greyworth’s grey eyes.

The witch would absolutely not tell lies. However, she also would not speak the truth.

……Asking her any questions would be useless.

He wondered if he should propose a trade or force her to reveal information.

“It’s the final break before the finals. You should enjoy it to the fullest.”

Greyworth showed a smile on her face and patted both their shoulders.

“Incidentally, our academy has no rules against relations between different genders. Do your best.”

“H, hey!”

“Academy Director!?”

Claire’s cheeks flushed red.

Greyworth disappeared into the crowd while waving at them.

“……What’s with her.”

Kamito muttered complaints under his breath and pulled on Claire’s hand.

“So, let’s go. It seems it would be a good idea to enter the theatre now.”

“Y, yeah……”

Kamito turned towards and began walking to the theatre and Claire quickly followed after him.

The theatre’s interior was unexpectedly wide and the two easily managed to get seats.

Perhaps because there was still time until the showing, the patrons were still sparse.

Claire was eating the peach crepe she had bought at the theatre’s shop as if to show that it was delicious.

“……You sure can eat. You just ate not too long ago, is that okay?”

Kamito said while astonished and,

“It’s completely fine, spirit contractors don’t gain weight……mm, this is delicious ♪”

“You have cream stuck to your cheek.”

“……Eh? Fuaaa!”

He wiped the cream from her face with his fingers and Claire’s face tinted red.

“……j, jeez, wh, what are you doing……!”

Hit, hit, hit.

“S, sorry……”

Certainly, suddenly touching a girl’s cheek might be a breach of manners.

Claire puffed in cheeks in an angry manner.

……That action was strangely cute.

“Hey, Kamito—”

And Claire suddenly put on a serious expression and whispered.

“Yeah?”

“……Umm, what kind of relationship do you have with the academy director?”

“Y, you wouldn’t happen to still be suspicious about what she said about a lover’s outing?”

“That’s not it. Come on, you said it before. That you had learned the same sword techniques as Ren Ashbell from the academy directory.”

“Ahh, that thing……”

“Exactly when did you come to know the academy director?”

“Mm……”

While Kamito lightly scratched his cheek, he slightly averted his gaze.

“……Kamito?”

(……Now then, what should I say?)

It was something that happened a year before Kamito debuted as Ren Ashbell.

(……Well, it should be fine if it’s a story about before I became Ren Ashbell.)

To a certain extent, telling her the circumstances might, on the contrary, dispell some of her doubts.

(Moreover, it would probably be a good idea to tell her about my relationship with Restia as well.)

He would probably end up fighting Restia again in the finals. With what had happened so far, he couldn’t say that Claire and the others weren’t involved anymore.

Claire gazed at Kamito with upturned eyes.

……It looked like there was still time left before the showing of the recording.

“It will probably be a boring story about long ago?”

“It’s fine. I’d like to know more about Kamito.”

“Eh?”

Kamito questioned in return and Claire covered her mouth with a gasp.

“Ah, th, that’s not it! It didn’t have that meaning!”

“I know.”

Kamito shrugged his shoulders with a wry smile and breathed out.

While remembering about those days, he muttered.

“I met with the <Dusk Witch> four years ago — immediately after the destruction of the <Instructional School>.”

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23 responses to “Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance Volume 8, Chapter 1 – Victory Celebration

  1. I see you’re paying attention more, and that’s good. But this is where the real work begins. One thing I’m noticing is that you often default to the most common definition of a word without taking context into account. This will lead you to rather awkward translations like “grand sound,” which doesn’t make sense in English. So you need to start considering all the possible definitions of the words and incorporating them in the way that most makes sense *in context*. One of the biggest reasons why J-E translations are so difficult is because so many words don’t translate over perfectly, and there is not a perfect one-to-one correspondence between Japanese words and English words. So you have to be a bit more interpretive and make sure everything works in context.

    It’s also really cool that you are recruiting an editor. Best of luck with that.

    Pan! Papapapan! (I know onomatopoeia are hard, but you can do better. How about “crack!”)

    Having set up a branch store in ’ business district, the empire’s nobles’ cafe “La Parfait”. (The Japanese isn’t a complete sentence, but the English should be! Also, 名門 here means prestigious. So it would be “famous café,” not “nobles’ café.” What is a nobles’ café anyways?)

    Within that shop, grand noises from crackers resounded. (I know you’re tempted to translate 盛大 to grand, but it can’t mean grand here, since “grand noises” doesn’t really make sense (how can a noise be grand?). It is better to say “loud,” or if you want to be more imaginative, something like “festive.”)
    “Congratulations on ’s advancement into the finals!” (nitpicky, but advancement sounds rather stilted. How about “Congratulations! ’s going to the finals!!”)

    The one giving her blessings with a smile was the maid, Carol. (I’m going to start giving English advice when appropriate too. You should probably reword this so it flows better: Carol, the maid, smiled and offered her congratulations.”)

    “Fuu, it was the obvious outcome with me there!” (“Hmph, well, of course we won. I was there, after all!”)

    “As expected of you, ojou-sama!”

    Rinslet swept up her hair and Carol clapped in return. (There’s a bit of a misinterpretation of the particle に here, which implies that Carol clapped AT Rinslet. And the 贈る could be made stronger, in terms of the fact that Carol is applauding FOR Rinslet. “Carol applauded Rinslet as Rinslet swept up her hair.”)

    “Wait a second, you weren’t the only one who did something.” (Translating 手柄 as “did something” is overly colloquial and doesn’t do the word justice. “You aren’t the only person who deserves credit” or “This was all of our achievements, not just yours” are better. Probably the former.)

    “Uuu……I was always providing support from the rear, but I also wanted to show off more on the front lines!” (ばかり is not always – it means only. You also omitted the first だって, which is actually quite important if you want to do the characterization properly. “Uuu… *B-But*… I was always just at the back running support the entire time!)

    “What use would a sniper be at the front lines……” (the どうするのよ is more exasperated than questioning, so this line needs to reflect that. “What in the world would a sniper do on the front lines…?” And yeah, I’m fairly certain the idiom is “on the front lines,” not “at.”)

    The seemingly astonished Claire tsukkomi’d. (Astonished, no. 呆れた is more like nonplussed, or bewildered. Also, you don’t need the seemingly, even though there’s a よう; It’s not something that translates well into English (Just reread the sentence and you’ll see what I mean). Also, this is a huge huge huge pet peeve of mine, but never leave tsukkomi untranslated. It sounds incredibly weird. You could try “retort” or “came back with” or “spat out a comeback” or something, but leaving that untranslated is just really meh.)

    • I was wondering about translating it as “nobles’ cafe,” but it seemed okay if I thought of it as a “cafe for nobles” type of thing. Probably not the best line of thought I’ve had in that respect.

      I’ll be leaving English editing up to the editor, so I’ll just send them back here when I actually get one. The English in the versions I give to the editor will probably get worse anyway (since it’ll be more literal than now), so it won’t do too much help if I correct them now. I’ll note them in my mind though.

      I’m not a believer in editing outside of the original punctuation in the Japanese version when it concerns periods or ellipses. As such, I modified it to better express the “datte” while maintaining the original positions. I think it works well enough for its purpose right now.

      I’m actually on the opposite side of the tsukkomi argument. It’s why I didn’t make any effort to translate it. I believe that keeping the roots to manzai comedy in the translated work is a fine reason to have “tsukkomi” still in the final work despite it being obviously non-English. It may be a huge, huge, huge pet peeve of yours, but I have at least some things I won’t back down on in my translations.

      • It’s still not right to leave tsukkomi in without even a footnote and just expect the readers to understand or go look it up on their own. There is nothing restrictive about the English language that would prevent it from expressing the ideas in “tsukkomi,” but you just have to try harder to do it. I’m generally fine with leaving very common Japanese words like “miko” or “bento” in, but leaving tsukkomi in feels rather lazy at best, since you will definitely have readers who are confused at that word. At the very least, you need to footnote it.

        By the way, you corrected the “datte” wrong. “Datte” means “but…” or “well…” not “since.” It’s an exclamatory phrase here that stands alone and therefore needs to be separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma. “B-But, etc. etc.” was actually a translation that respected the position of the datte in front. In fact, the way you corrected it, the sentence isn’t even a complete sentence anymore…

        In general though, you should be very prepared to change word order around. Once again, Japanese is almost a backwards language with respect to English – saying that you want to respect periods and ellipses and word order is just asking for trouble, since ideas are often expressed in backwards order in Japanese. There is no real merit to translating super-literally, other than the fact that it is easier to do so – to wit, machine translations translate literally, and we know how awful those are.

        By the way, most of the errors I’m pointing out are still TL errors, not English errors – your editor will not pick up on the fact that “grand sound” should be “festive sound” or something like that unless he’s psychic, since your editor does not see the source material. Your editor will also not be able to flip a sentence completely around, since he will have no way of knowing whether what he’s doing is changing the sentence too much unless he is looking at the source. Having an editor is important, but I want to stress that you shouldn’t use your editor as a crutch. You should still reread your translations at least once or twice and correct the English to the best of YOUR knowledge before handing it to your editor. Your editor then fixes the mistakes you missed. Just never forget that your editor is severely handicapped by not knowing the source material and can only fix errors of a rather technical nature, not ones of an interpretive nature. That’s the translator’s job!

      • This NanoDesu is pretty anal about english. Also, I do not feel that it is another translator’s place to tell a translator what to do unless he or she is asked

      • @thebigone: It’s already been plain as day that NanoDesu is an OCD case. Anybody with less of an obsession with perfection would not take the time to actually come around and post these long comments.

        That being said, I’m quite satisfied with the results of purposefully messing up the “datte”. I had a good laugh with how exasperated he/she seems in response to such a blatant mistake. Even I can’t deal with the heavy-handedness all the time without poking fun.

        The footnote idea is one I’ve considered for a while, so I guess it’s just something I’ll do as with the Turkish bath since I can’t think of a good way to have them link to the bottom other than copying Baka-Tsuki’s method and treating them like citations.

        I’ll change the “datte” to an actual fix now. Anybody who coughed blood from reading the blatant error, get a blood pack.

        Japanese is backwards English, but that doesn’t mean I can’t follow my preference. Changing word order is different compared to change punctuation. I change the word order all the time. I don’t change the punctuation very often at all.

        If an editor doesn’t know what “grand sound” means, I’d expect them to ask me. There’s no problem with clarifying certain parts, and I expect it’ll work better for me than if I just arbitrarily decide the English counterparts.

      • You say you don’t want to butcher the work. But before I came in and started pointing errors out to you, you were honestly pretty dangerously close to doing it. You’ve improved since then, but that’s only at the insistent prodding of others. But you’re still a long ways off, and the nonchalance you are beginning to show is only going to hurt you in the long run.

    • Eh, I think you’re confusing “perfection” with “getting stuff up to a certain standard so English speakers won’t roll their eyes when they read it.” Just because readers don’t have the courage to tell you about it in person doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge amount of talking behind your back about it. I’ve been in this business for long enough to know how much of this happens. But considering I am not a leecher, I feel no qualms about telling you where you’re going wrong. Take my advice seriously.

      The standards you hold yourself to should be even higher considering you are a native English speaker and you have been learning Japanese for 6 years. I’ve been learning Japanese on and off for 2.

      • It’s called perfection if there’s no standard above it. I don’t really care what people say about me to begin with; my reputation in certain communities is horrible and I’m perfectly happy with it. If leechers don’t have the balls to come out and tell it straight to my face, then they’re just losers. That’s all I have to say about those -things-.

        If I didn’t take your advice seriously, I wouldn’t be taking it at all.

        My standards have never been high unless I get paid. I’ve never been paid to do anything in Japanese, so they’re still fairly low. Calling it learning Japanese for 6 years is my general term. It doesn’t mean I even did it for 6 years, but it does sound more impressive. It’s kinda like how you just said 2, but in reality it would amount to much less (on and off so about 1 year?).

      • I’m not saying you should care about your reputation (although, it is true that getting on the bad side of the TL community is probably not going to help you in the long run). But what I’m saying is that if people are having a difficult time reading your translation, to the point where its becoming a conversation topic, there’s a reason for that, and you should step up and take it upon your shoulders to improve. Namely, I hope that you’re translating these works because you care about the material, or because you want to get better. In either case, you should be pretty amenable to the standards I’m holding you to, because the standards I’m trying to apply are literally “when I read this, does it feel like a properly translated novel in English or not?” Hell, I hold my group members to even higher standards than the ones I’m applying to you, since I know you are rather inexperienced and I don’t want to overwhelm you.

        I am aware we are not perfect, and I certainly as hell am not. But I still would want my work to be something I can at least look at and go “Hey. I did that. Pretty cool.” Maybe I’m just misunderstanding what your motives are – why did you start translating?

        Not getting paid does not mean you should not try your best. It just means that you don’t have deadlines. In fact, not getting paid is even MORE reason to release higher quality work, since then you should have no motivation other than your desire to translate the work.

        As an aside, would you prefer if I held you to what I would consider a perfect standard? I don’t even hold myself to a perfect standard. I warn you – the comments are going to get so long then that you might need a table of contents and a magnifying glass =p.

      • My reasons for translating are really neither of those. I’m just doing it because somebody asked. They wanted it on B-T, so I started putting it there (because B-T has a reader). I ran into some issues with putting it on B-T sometimes, so I put it on this blog. Various things rolled together and created the current situation where I just said “I might as well go ahead while I’m at it”. So yes, my reasons for translating are pretty shallow.

        Becoming a conversation topic is nothing I have any particular care for. If the person I’m translating for doesn’t give a crap, I honestly don’t really either. It’s a good opportunity to refine some skills, but I don’t have nearly enough of a motive to actually do it that much.

        Not getting paid means, to me, that there is pretty much no merit. Merit is about the only thing that will move me to begin with, other than requests. I mean requests from people I know though. All these faceless comments where I don’t know anybody for real are just a collective I consider “the internet”.

        Honestly, you may be trying to append too many good things to my character. I’m not that nice a person. I consider saying, “Screw everything and everyone!” every five posts because I didn’t originally come into this for any “community” thing. Following through on what I’m doing is just something I consider natural, or I would honestly just have ignored every single thing said and plowed on anyway.

        If I needed a table of contents for a comment detailing criticism, I doubt I’d find the will to read it unless I let three days pass and did nothing concerning what was being criticized. And even then, it’s doubtful.

        And with all that, I will be returning to a civilized attitude where I don’t have to tell people that they have a really glorified image of me. If this dropped any valuation I had from anyone, you’re welcome.

      • I misjudged you then. And I apologize for that. But in that case, let me just make something clear.

        When you translate something and put it online, you are creating a representation of the work that people will read. And when people read your work, they will take it as a faithful reproduction of the original work. As such, a bad translation will reflect badly on the original work itself. It is at least half for that reason that I am quality checking your work. It’s partially to help you improve –but it is also to make sure that the works you are translating are getting the treatment they deserve.

        So, please understand this. If you post subpar translations, people will care. And people will bitch. They are not bitching because they are cruel, or because they like picking on you. They are bitching for the far more pertinent reason that they feel that a series they enjoy is being mishandled, and that is a sincere worry that you should sympathize with. This is all worsened by the fact that once you translate a light novel, you significantly reduce the probability that someone who is more accurate and better will come along and decide to re-translate. Once you make a subpar translation, that translation will stand for a long, long time and will represent that novel for a long, long time. So if you post your translations online, you will be scrutinized, for good reason. You will be criticized, for good reason. **And if you do not learn from that, you will continue to be scrutinized (for good reason) until you care more about the work you are doing.**

        The one exception to this is BT, because BT is an editable wiki that prizes openness and giving new translators their chance. But once you move onto your own site, you are signaling that you are ready to translate solo without a well-established support network, and thus will be expected to adhere to the standards that such an endeavor will carry with it.

        The idea that a fan translator is going to *willfully* undermine the integrity of a work for the sake of expediency or god-knows-what is unacceptable, no matter what the reason. If you want to translate the work and send your translation to the person who requested it, who perhaps doesn’t care as much about these things, then I think that’s great. But once your work is open to be read by all, and by people who WILL care, then you will immediately be held to a reasonable standard. People who expect a lot from the work will naturally expect a lot out of you. And then the recurring theme becomes: Do it well or don’t do it at all.

      • I expect from what you wrote that you believe that is representative of everybody’s opinion. I believe it’s just the voice of the loudest group. There’s no point in arguing the opposite side simply because it sounds bad.

        I didn’t say people are bitching because they like to pick on me or anything. I’m actually quite enjoying bitching back anyway. It’s like my other major pastime.

        I didn’t say I’d be flubbing the translations on purpose either. If I was going to do that, I would already have done it with a vengeance. The translations have slowed down simply because I am taking more care with them. I don’t think you really care about my reasons for doing so as long as it happens though.

        I do not intend to completely butcher the work and I don’t really see it being butchered other than that one sentence I just wrote something down for and forgot about (which has already been fixed). Though, honestly, this is just like business: if you cover the greater majority of people, it’s fine. Excluding a large group may be a problem, but minor ones don’t matter. I know you’ll take offense at that statement (hah).

        Well then, have a great day.

        EDIT: Forgot this, but I already said I would go back and edit the chapters after, so I will be doing that as well. Stop worrying about it and focus on something more important than arguing with me.

  2. Wiki gives a helpful hint – the Three Musketeers in Japanese are 三銃士, so it has nothing in common with 三匹の猫剣士

    And I’m really bothered with the “no” in the middle – if it was “three cat fencers”, there would be no need for it. Are you sure that Sanbiki is not a name (“Sanbiki’s cat fencer”)?
    Otherwise, it is “Cat fencer of three small animals”.

    • If I remove the “Catketeers” thing, then it’s just “Three Cat Swordsmen”. The “no” is not going to make it into the “Cat Fencer of Three Small Animals”. “Sanbiki” is definitely not a name either.

      I really don’t want to change it though. I actually liked that name in it’s own way…

      • Actually, I think it is a wordlpay on 三匹の子豚, Three Little Pigs – with piglets replaced by cat fencers…

  3. Agh, the comments are so detailed that lost track of what I really wanted to type. Pls don’t take it to such extremes that it is eventually dropped. We have already suffered a loss in the past.

    Thanks Mizuho for the translations. And good luck with your Editor hunt.

    Excited about the witch mistreating Kamito 😀

    *runs away*

    • Ah yes. Now I remeber. *thumps fist on the palm*

      Grand noise => booming noise

      And I suggest for a TL note to ‘tskomid’ (whatever the spelling…you understand) part so that people don’t change it unknowingly.

      • The only note exists at the top. If it’s not read…well, that’s not my fault.

        I don’t know if “crackers” would make a “booming” noise though. I’m pretty sure they’re not that loud.

  4. “What’s with that geh! That’s extremely rude when facing one’s concubine!”

    lololol. u sure about that one, mr translator?

    • 「げっ、とはなんじゃ!妾に向かって失礼千万であるぞ!」
      I looked over this twice and that’s the kanji for concubine, but now that I look at it again…I’m actually sure it’s just “I”. I forgot that it had that meaning. Well, that was a grand mistake…

    • You should consider reading furigana sometimes if you’re context-oblivious; warawa only has one meaning and that’s “I”. Concubine would be ‘sobame’ or ‘mekake’.

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