I have made a distinction between “暗殺者” and “暗殺技能者” by calling the first one “assassin(s)” and the second “master assassin(s)”. The direct meaning is “assassin” and “assassin(ation) technician” respectively, where “technician” means someone “skilled”.
Greyworth calls Kamito “坊や (bouya)” all the time but I didn’t think it was important enough to try keeping it in her speeches. It sounds really strange if I make her talk to him about him like he’s not there.
The alternate name for <Murders> is <The Corpse Alliance>. The <Key of Sulaiman> is <Demon King’s Text of Keys>. Technically <Purple Lightning> could also be called <Flash>. It sounds kinda flat though if I leave it with one syllable, so I’ve opted to use <Purple Lightning> (there’s also no standard on B-T, so whatever). Sulaimon is also known as Solomon depending on the area (credits to Endo for pointing this out; he also provides extra information in the comments).
It is now “kamui” instead of “divine power” because I noticed I was being inconsistent with whether I used the kanji or the furigana. This will be what I use from now on.
The editor for this chapter was AshenRaven.
……Four years ago.
All of a sudden, the <Instructional School> was destroyed in the span of a single night by an evil spirit of flames.
Within the blaze, the boy snatched the ring the darkness spirit was sealed in and escaped to the outside of the facility. He, who had been raised as a tool of destruction and slaughter, continued to wander aimlessly through barren wastelands.
And then, several weeks later.
In the remote city he wandered to, the boy contacted a border faction of <Murders>, a secret organization.
Without a sense of justice and knowing no other way to live than through his battle skills, he couldn’t come up with any other option.
They had ridiculed the boy who came to their hideout with hair that had grown as long as possible and a tattered appearance.
What can such a young child even do, they said.
But as soon as their guards were beaten in a flash, their appraisal of him changed.
“I shall accept any job. The price is—”
The reward he was seeking from <Murders> was a single book.
A book that was sealed upon orders of the <Divine Ritual Institute>, a forbidden text — <Key of Sulaiman>.
The job he accepted in exchange was—
The assassination of the continent’s strongest spirit contractor, the <Dusk Witch>.
And now, the boy — Kamito was blending into the night in the witch’s courtyard.
The imperial capital’s suburbs. The grounds were large, but as a home for the former number one of the <Numbers> that had been granted great peerage, it was plain.
Let alone a spirit protecting the gate, there didn’t even appear to be a single servant……though he already knew this from the information he had received.
The time Greyworth would return from the royal palace was drawing nearer and nearer.
Cloaked in darkness, Kamito touched the ring he had hidden within his jacket.
He stroked the words written on its outer edge in spirit language.
(……If this goes well, I can free her.)
The one sealed within the ring was the darkness spirit girl.
The girl who had given human emotions to he who had become an empty tool at the training facility.
But giving emotions to Kamito, who should have been a tool, had angered the instructors, resulting in her being sealed once again.
Although he had succeeded in stealing the ring during the opportunity created with the <Instructional School>’s destruction, Kamito did not know how to undo the seal. As well, the instructors who would have known how had all been killed by that <Evil Flame Spirit>.
(But if I can just get the <Key of Sulaiman>, then I can definitely—)
He would assassinate the continent’s strongest spirit contractor for the sake of getting back her smile.
He had not done an assassination mission yet, but he was confident that it was something he would succeed in.
The sound of a horse-drawn coach coming down the road. Kamito heard it with his extraordinary hearing ability.
(—This mission will be decided with the first attack. If I miss, I’m dead.)
This was the iron rule for when a non-spirit contractor fought with a spirit contractor.
It seemed that all the assassination attempts on the <Dusk Witch> so far had failed.
The <Murders> bunch hadn’t told him what had happened to those who failed. —Not that he really wanted to know.
The coach arrived before the gate.
Kamito covered the lower half of his face with a black cloth and drew the twin swords at his waist.
Special short swords forged from spirit ores — items he had received at the <Instructional School>.
They had no inscription. They were not actually designed for battle but instead were twin swords intended for use in a princess maiden’s blade dance ritual; however, supplying kamui to the blade would allow it to also cut spirits so it was convenient for missions.
Even so, there was no comparison in performance with a spirit contractor’s <Elemental Waffe>.
The door of the coach opened, and a woman with ash blonde hair came out.
Kamito sprung all his muscles into action and shot out from the darkness.
It did not leave any room for a reaction. He closed the distance in an instant and slashed out towards the woman’s neck.
He felt a hard impact with his hands.
The twin swords’ blades had stopped in midair.
“—Ohh, you’re different from all the other ones.”
Cloaked in a grey dress, the beautiful woman smiled bewitchingly.
In her hand was a single thick book.
That book had stopped the twin swords.
Shivers ran down his spine. That was something that he should have lost already, instinctual fear.
Those bottomless grey eyes pierced through Kamito.
(This person is—)
A monster — that word floated into his head.
He withdrew his twin swords and slipped into the darkness. Fighting anymore than this would be meaningless.
Seeing as he did not take her down in a single strike, he would have to bide time until the next chance.
“My goodness, did you think you could just escape after aiming for a witch’s neck?”
The <Dusk Witch> smiled like she was enjoying herself and put out her hand.
In an instant, a revolting lump of darkness was born from thin air.
(……Is that a demonic spirit!?)
They had a different spirit structure and consequently could not be controlled by humans.
The one who could control them was — only the heretical <Dusk Witch>.
The lump of darkness coiled around her arm and formed into a vibrating sword.
Even were he not a spirit contractor, he could feel it with his skin.
The one before his eyes was a top-class demonic spirit.
It was probably the same rank as Restia, no less—
(—Even though she’s a retired spirit knight, she’s contracted to spirits of this caliber!)
He had heard about it but — even though it was right in front of him, it was hard to believe.
Normally, a princess maiden’s ability was at its peak from ten to the early twenties, and they would only weaken after that. Those spirit contractors who had lost their power would retire, marry a noble of high birth, and pass their power down to their daughters.
If it was true that she had fought during the time of the Ranbal War, then her power should have weakened long ago.
A sharp flash split the air.
He barely reacted by using his instincts, but the blade grazed him.
The cloth over his lower face was cut and fell gently to the ground.
“—Ohh, quite a cute girl.”
The sharp grey eyes widened slightly.
“……I’m not a girl.”
Kamito spoke for the first time.
He could not escape from his opponent’s blade’s reach. He would only be able to kill the moment he retreated.
(—Then there’s no other way but to resolve myself.)
Kamito readied his twin blades and stared back at the falcon-like eyes of the witch.
“I have — come to kill the <Dusk Witch>.”
He immediately kicked off the ground and closed the distance.
The godspeed slash was aimed at the witch’s windpipe, but just before that.
The witch’s figure swayed.
“Absolute Blade Arts, First Form — <Purple Lightning>.”
Greyworth’s sword penetrated straight through Kamito’s flank.
When he opened his eyes—
Kamito was lying atop a soft bed.
Clean sheets that smelled nice. Daylight flooded in from the large window.
(……Where exactly is this?)
And with no time to guess,
“I’m surprised. That you were really a boy.”
Kamito leaped from the bed at the voice he heard overhead.
No, rather, he tried to leap from it but failed.
It seemed his lower half was numb and couldn’t move.
Greyworth smiled like she was having fun and,
“Sorry, I allowed myself to cast <Binding> magic on you. It would trouble me if you ran wild.”
“At any rate, moving will open your wounds. Even if I held back, my sword still pierced your stomach.”
Certainly, his lower torso was aching with a dull pain. The bandages thoroughly wrapped around him were stained with blood.
“I have applied healing techniques. You should be fully healed in three days.”
“……Why did you save me?”
“Because I’ve taken an interest in you. At such a young age, having strength incomparable to the other assassins, calm judgment ability and moreover—”
And she paused, then took out that and showed it to him.
“You were carrying a pretty interesting item. The legendary-class demonic accessory, <Sulaiman’s Ring>.”
“……Give, it……back, give it back……!”
Kamito widened his eyes and stretched out his hand as if possessed.
But those fingers only grasped air.
“……I’m surprised, you can move while under the <Binding>. It appears you treasure this very much.”
Greyworth smiled bewitchingly and leaned in close to Kamito’s ear.
“Sorry, but I investigated your body as you slept. You possess a princess maiden’s disposition to sympathize with spirits, it seems?”
Kamito averted his gaze wordlessly.
It was impossible to deceive her. A spirit contractor of the <Dusk Witch>’s caliber could easily see through a spirit contractor’s disposition.
“An existence that shouldn’t exist in this world, a male spirit contractor — no, there is one in the history of the continent. That kind of abnormal existence.”
As if taunting one who had taken the bait, the witch whispered in his ear.
“I wonder if this is the second coming of the demon king that once brought destruction and disaster to the continent. Truly a dangerous existence.”
“……What do you intend to do with me?”
Kamito finally spoke.
If he was handed over to the empire, the chance to meet Restia again would be forever closed to him.
That was the only thing he definitely needed to avoid.
But to Kamito, who had a tense face,
“Boy, how old are you?”
A question with no relation to the topic was asked.
“Defiant, aren’t you.”
The witch began to fiddle with the ring in her hands.
“……Thirteen. I was taught that by the ones who raised me.”
“Thirteen, huh. Age-wise, that’s enough. And with this face—”
She muttered to herself about random things and then smiled.
“Boy, won’t you become mine?”
Kamito replied immediately.
“Don’t conclude that so quickly. This is a trade. It’s not bad for you either.”
“……What do you mean?”
“What if I were to say I could release the spirit sealed in this ring?”
In an instant, Kamito’s countenance changed.
The release of the sealed Restia. In return for that, what Greyworth wanted—
……Unexpectedly was just housework.
“—I was certain you would be hiring me as an assassin.”
Kamito voiced his doubts and,
“If you were stronger than me, then I might have.”
She joked with a smile.
“……That’s true, but why am I dressed like this?”
Kamito said with a stunned expression as he gripped the long skirt’s hem.
For some reason, Kamito had been made to wear fluttery maid clothing.
His black hair that had been allowed to grow without cutting was personally combed by Greyworth and now had a glossy sheen.
—The image reflected in the full-length mirror was completely one of a girl.
“Truly, that suits you to a frightening degree. If you went out to the imperial capital like that, the boys wouldn’t leave you alone.”
Greyworth once again raised a voice of admiration.
“I’m not a girl. At least lend me normal clothes.”
“Denied. I’m not just making you wear those clothes because I like to bully.”
“……What do you mean?”
“If any of my guests were to find out that you are a male spirit contractor, what would happen? If it’s a high-potential princess maiden, then whether you’re a spirit contractor or not, it is simple to overlook.”
Certainly, if it was discovered that he was a male spirit contractor like the demon lord, it would cause a problem in no time. Those rumors might even reach the empire’s top brass.
“Additionally, you are an unregistered spirit contractor……it goes without saying that the nation will regard a stray spirit contractor as a great threat. If you were found out, Ordesia Empire may send out its spirit knights or even the <Numbers>.”
……He couldn’t refute any of it.
As expected, without Restia, he didn’t feel confident in escaping the empire’s elite.
“What, it’s not like it’ll be for forever. I’ll also think of a way. But I’ll have you stay in the mansion for the time being.”
“……I got it.”
Kamito nodded as it couldn’t be helped.
“Well, there is one other reason—”
“—Mm, don’t mind it for now.”
Greyworth shook her head to drop the subject.
“So, you can really free Restia, right?”
“Yeah. It will take some time, but if I use the Elstein family’s <Sealed Library>, I should be able to find the book you were looking for. Demonic accessories are outside of my specialty, but well, it’ll work out somehow. Even like this, I’m still a university graduate.”
He didn’t understand what the <Dusk Witch> was planning. However, as long as he had no other way to free Restia, he would have to listen to her.
“Now, follow me. I’ll guide you through the mansion.”
Greyworth turned on her heel and went out to the hall.
Kamito sighed and followed after her.
At any rate — Kamito thought of a question.
……The inside of the mansion had too few human presences.
“Why do you only have one servant?”
“Ahh, it’s because the ones that work at this mansion aren’t actually here.”
“You’ll understood soon — since I’m saying while you’re here.”
Greyworth smiled wryly.
Kamito found it difficult to understand what she meant and—
The next moment. Suddenly, the hallway’s window opened.
Kamito reacted instantly. Lifting the long skirt, he drew his twin swords that were strapped by belts to his thighs.
The ones that came from the window were two completely black boys. Held in their hands were short swords with a curved blade.
The assailants’ moves froze for a moment.
That was obvious. Since an ordinary maid had just drawn weapons with practiced movements.
With that opening, Kamito closed the gap in an instant. Smashing the hilt of his sword into one’s jaw, he rendered him incapable of combat, and with flowing movements, he pierced his blade into the second assailant’s shoulder.
A silent scream. Immediately slamming his fist into the solar plexus, he knocked him out.
It hadn’t even taken a few seconds to beat the two assailants.
Looking at their reactions amongst other things, they were reasonably well-trained, but for Kamito who came from the <Instructional School>, they were not a match as an assassin.
Greyworth was calmly observing Kamito’s skill in defeating the assailants.
“……What’s with these guys?”
After confirming the two had truly lost consciousness, Kamito asked.
“Who knows? I’m quite hated by various groups. Outside of the empire, of course, and there are enemies within as well. Having an assassin come is a usual occurrence.”
“Could it be that this kind of thing happens every day?”
“Cleaning up these kinds of guys is also the job of a maid.”
Greyworth pushed up her glasses with her fingertips and smiled.
“But your sword style just now — those are genuine assassination techniques.”
“……I know nothing other than this blade style.”
“The style you learned from that assassin training organization you mentioned?”
(As expected, I was seen through, huh……)
There was no use denying it. Following the destruction of the <Instructional School>, the empire had sent out its knights, including the <Numbers>, to investigate. What had been done at that facility; there was no way the military authorities or she who had been connected would not know.
“I don’t particularly have an interest in your background.”
Perhaps she had taken his silence as an affirmation as Greyworth shrugged her shoulders.
“It’s just that that blade style is inconvenient in a variety of ways. It’s not suited for blade dancing.”
Amongst the rituals spirit contractors offered to spirits, that was the programme with the highest social status.
To the orphans of the <Instructional School> who were completely master assassins, it was a word of no relevance.
Greyworth’s grey eyes stared at Kamito as if appraising him.
“—Boy, have you ever wished that you wanted to become strong?”
Kamito was perplexed at the question that was suddenly raised.
Wanted to become strong — thinking that way, there shouldn’t have been even on occurrence up to now.
But he had been ordered to become strong. And in reality, if he hadn’t become strong, he would not have been able to survive at that Hell-like facility.
He pondered on that subject for a while—
“……I don’t know.”
Kamito shook his head.
“At the very least, I don’t think I’ve wished that I wanted to become strong — I think.”
Greyworth nodded to herself as if coming to an understanding.
And with eyes as if she pitied something about him, she turned to Kamito and—
“You are strong. Most likely, it would be fine to call you the single strongest master assassin on the entire continent. But that is, after all, an empty strength.”
His chest became abuzz at Greyworth’s words. He opened his mouth as if to retort.
“—It’s not like I wanted to become strong.”
Greyworth placed her hand on her chin as if her interest had been peaked and,
“First of all, it seems it is necessary to open the boy’s eyes.”
And as if having been struck with an idea, she gave a profound smile.
—From then, a few days’ time.
Kamito worked devotedly as a newly hired maid at Greyworth’s mansion.
“Kamito, heat the bath. I don’t like it hot, so I’m counting on you to keep it mild.”
“Next I’d like you to clean the garden. Prune the shrubs as well.”
“Kamito, dinner. I would like subtly seasoned Laurenfrost-style meat cuisine.”
“I can’t make that kind of thing!”
“There’s a recipe, isn’t there? Everything is an experience.”
“Whatever happens, I don’t know anything……”
Of course, Kamito had not done anything like cooking until now. Despite that, he somehow managed to make something resembling meat cuisine and Greyworth ate without leaving any leftovers as she voiced complaints.
The most troubling thing about being in the empire was that one could not use flames satisfactorily.
The cause was the <Calamity Queen>’s revolt that had happened several weeks before the <Instructional School> was destroyed.
The enraged spirit king razed the empire’s territory and erased all flames within their lands.
Due to this, every time Kamito wanted to use fire, he had to head to the <Spirit Forest> that fluorished outside the capital city to catch a fire attribute spirit.
There were still other things that troubled him.
“Kamito, wash my body.”
Kamito’s face reddened and,
“It’s a joke. Hrm, you’re still a kid in those matters.”
Kamito glared at his inhuman master, but his lovely maid clothes nullified its impact and,
“Maybe I should have you be my partner for tonight.”
“Fufuu, you’re really cute.”
It seemed like it stirred up her sadistic heart instead.
(……This is also for the sake of freeing Restia.)
While Kamito said that to himself, his household skills had improved.
But his most important job was not housework. In-between housework, he had to fend off the assassins that came seemingly every day aiming for Greyworth’s life.
“……You’re really hated by various groups.”
Kamito muttered with sarcasm and,
“I wasn’t as peaceful back when I was a knight as I am now.”
“……You’ve become peaceful now?”
Kamito once again remembered fear.
Like that, one day. Greyworth went out from the mansion.
“I’ll be visiting the royal palace. Do the laundry and clean the mansion until evening.”
“You don’t hate politics?”
“I can’t ignore a direct summons from His Majesty the emperor. And the subject this time isn’t unrelated to you.”
“……What do you mean?”
Greyworth shrugged her shoulders and explained in response to Kamito’s query.
It appeared that a few days ago, the report from the spirit knights on the <Instructional School> was announced and the details of the inhuman experiments were coming to light one by one.
Amongst the founding members of that facility, there were a number of important nobles so the imperial court was buzzing like a disturbed bees’ nest.
In the organization, the <Instructional School>’s battle technicians were well-hidden, but from the contents of missions, it was possible to guess the clients’ statuses and situations.
Although to begin with, the ones who had investigated them were spirit contractors specialized in information gathering that were roughly equal to his ex-teammate, Lily Flame.
“Well, the founding members were nobles of this empire but they seem to have all gradually moved to the <Demon King Religious Clique> from Alphas Empire that was backing the organization.”
Greyworth took a breath and,
“The fanatical devotees of the demon king — the ones who scouted you after finding out about your prowess as a spirit contractor were also those Demon King Religious Clique guys, right?”
“……I don’t know.”
Kamito shook his head sideways. Certainly, the elders at the <Instructional School> seemed to believe that the male spirit contractor Kamito was the second coming of the demon king.
“Because I was a tool that embodied their wills.”
Greyworth stared at that sort of Kamito for a while and,
“Oh boy, it seems drastic measures are necessary.”
“Ahh, that’s right—”
In front of the hall preceeding the foyer, Greyworth said that as if she had remembered something.
“Also clean my study today.”
Normally she would say it was fine even if he didn’t clean the study.
……What a strange turn of events this was.
“Cleaning just the floor is fine. I’ve told you many times, don’t touch things that don’t concern you.”
Even while he thought of a question, Kamito nodded obediently.
After Greyworth left the mansion, Kamito immediately began cleaning.
It had started off as an unfamiliar maid job, but he had finally gotten the knack of it.
As he walked down the hallway that had an expensive carpet spread out along it,
(……I really didn’t know anything other than fighting.)
All this time, he had never been allowed to realize that.
The disciples of the <Instructional School> were only tools for the purpose of slaughter. They were never taught unnecessary knowledge.
Restia had bestowed him with knowledge of the outside world, but their time together had been too short. Particularly in their first meeting, Kamito had not seen her as anything other than an enemy he had to defeat. (—He wondered if the <Instructional School> was completely dissolved by the empire.)
He didn’t have any particularly strong feelings about that but—
The one that crossed his mind was the girl with ash grey hair that had disappeared into the flames.
The girl that had called him her brother and adored him.
The second-place <Monster> of the <Instructional School> — Muir Alenstarl.
Was she done in by those flames or captured by the spirit knights, he wondered.
(Either way doesn’t seem likely……)
Shrugging his shoulders, he opened Greyworth’s study with the key he’d been provided.
Books were ordered and lined up on the bookshelf that covered an entire wall and a bunch of documents were piled up on the office desk.
“……It looks like what she said about being a university graduate is true.”
Kamito muttered and stepped into the room with broom in hand.
……It was a larger room than he had imagined. Perhaps to prevent the deterioration of research materials, there was no window. In its place, a spirit ore’s illumination lit up the entire room dimly.
A glass wardrobe was adorned with raw spirit ores and a collection of demonic accessories. They were undoubtedly items of absurd prices.
—And amongst them, he realized there was a gaudy medal left carelessly.
In the center of a wooden shield, a beautiful spirit ore was embedded, and Greyworth’s name was carved on the metal plate.
“……The medal given to the victor of the <Blade Dance>, huh.”
The spirit contractors’ festival that happened once every several years or possibly several decades in <Astral Zero>.
It seemed this was an item from over twenty years ago when the <Dusk Witch> had won.
“Blade dance, huh……”
He remembered what Greyworth had said a few days ago.
—It’s just that that blade style is inconvenient in a variety of ways. It’s not suited for blade dancing.
Is what she had said.
He wondered what the difference was with the sword techniques that had been hammered into him at the <Instructional School>.
(—My sword techniques could not reach the <Dusk Witch>.)
He was sure that she had said <Absolute Blade Arts>—
As if stabbing through the blank in one’s consciousness, it was an inexplicable sword technique. Until now, that was the only sword technique that Kamito had not been able to see through after one time.
—You are strong.
—But that is, after all, an empty strength.
(……I don’t get it. I know nothing other than that strength.)
Moving away from the wardrobe, this time he looked upon the desk.
Seeing an item that would surprise anyone, Kamito gasped.
An ancient book with leather bindings.
The title carved in spirit language was — <Key of Sulaiman>.
(……No way, she already obtained it!?)
Of course, it was not the original but a copy. Be that as it may, it should still have information on the legendary-class demonic accessory, <Sulaiman’s Ring>, that Restia was sealed in.
Kamito stretched his hand out without hesitation. Kamito had not really studied languages, but thanks to Restia, he could roughly decipher the meaning to some extent.
……If he at least understood the method, the process itself didn’t seem too difficult. If he used the ritual equipment gathered in the room, he should be able to begin the spirit freeing ritual immediately.
The shrill sound of a bell resounded.
It was the notification that an intruder had entered the mansion’s <Barrier>.
“Kuu, at this kind of time—”
Clicking his tongue, Kamito turned his gaze to the door—
Those eyes opened in surprise.
A shadow with a small build draped in black cloth was standing on the other side of the door.
Kamito immediately changed his thoughts into battle mode.
His opponent was short with a feminine physique.
A girl — if it was, the chance of her being a spirit contractor was high.
Kamito quickly reached for the twin blades beneath his skirt and gathered kamui into his hands.
This was the first time a spirit contractor assassin had come to the mansion. By no means, they should not be of the remnants from the <Instructional School> but—
“It’s unfortunate but the <Dusk Witch> is not here.”
Kamito said those words but the assassin was not perturbed at all. She stood there wordlessly while sending out killing intent.
(Greyworth isn’t the target? If not, then what exactly—)
An instant. From the assassin’s fingers, a sphere was formed.
Aiming at Kamito, she launched the sphere.
(Spirit magic……as I thought, a spirit contractor!)
As he reflexibly moved to dodge — he realized.
On the desk behind him was the <Key of Sulaiman> that was necessary for freeing Restia.
He turned around in an instant. He stopped it with the twin swords infused with kamui — but,
Even if it was infused with kamui, something like a sword couldn’t deflect spirit magic. The black orb that hit the blades exploded right in front of him. Kamito’s body was blown away violently and smacked into the wall.
At the spot the ball had exploded, a hole like the air had been gouged out opened and the fragments of the twin swords that had stopped the spirit magic had been eliminated without a trace.
“……<Annihilation> magic, huh!”
This one was on a different level from all the assassins that had come to the mansion before—!
The assassin wordlessly shot several black orbs at him.
Kamito quickly grabbed the <Key of Sulaiman> and threw himself to the ground.
The black spheres exploded overhead. The shards from the wooden wardrobe that was broken by the technique grazed against his cheek.
(……Don’t tell me, the target is this book!?)
And yet, his opponent was firing their magic carelessly.
He decided the objective wasn’t recovery but destruction and—
Kamito tightened his grip around the book in his hands.
(……I definitely will not let go of this.)
—This book was the sole key to freeing that girl.
The girl with black wings that wore a night-colored dress.
When they had parted, the last smile she had shown him was deeply etched into his mind.
With the remains of the twin sword in his left hand and the copy held in his right hand, Kamito confronted the assassin.
Essentially, with the book’s safety as a priority, he would prefer to retreat at this point, but unfortunately there were no windows in this room and the sole exit had an assassin standing in it.
(It seems I have no choice but to defeat her—)
The assassin held out her fingers.
Instantly, black spheres fired out consecutively — there was nowhere to hide in the room.
But that was with the general knowledge of an average battle technician. Kamito kicked off the floor and moved from the wall to the ceiling in but a moment, avoiding all the orbs with minimal movement.
The specialty of the <Instructional School>’s assassins, meta three-dimensional movement — moreover, Kamito’s version of that had been nicknamed <Shadow Weaving>, otherworldly movement.
The first signs of agitation were born in the black-clothed assassin.
Kamito kicked off the ceiling and jumped. Closing the distance in an instant, he released a slashing attack.
—But the blade fruitlessly cut only air.
The assassin’s image disappeared into thin air like a mirage.
There was no particular reason for surprise. With a spirit contractor as an opponent, it was a natural thing.
He calmly checked for a presence — and overhead, the air slightly wavered.
Rather than confirming the enemy by sight, Kamito quickly took evasion maneuvers.
A moment later, the place Kamito had been standing at just before was peppered with <Annihilation> magic.”
The floor that had become nothing was gouged out along with the air.
If that hit directly, a person would vanish without a single trace.
(I can’t let it touch me even slightly.)
Kamito gripped the copy even tighter.
(—I will definitely protect this!)
That time. Kamito realized.
(—I see, this is the first time I’ve fought this kind of battle.)
Without any orders, he wanted to protect something by his own will and was fighting while strongly desiring that.
The assassin swooped down before his eyes. In her hand was a blade made through magic.
The flash of a blade ran. Kamito promptly whipped out his one-handed sword, protecting the book against his chest.
The one-handed sword was eliminated as if it had been absorbed.
The assassin kicked off the ground again and moved into striking distance.
Just before the assassin’s blade touched the copy.
Restia’s smile once again flashed across his mind.
(—I won’t let you!)
Kamito instantaneously infused his left hand with kamui.
Normally, a spirit contractor with no contracted spirit could not use spirit magic. However, Kamito concentrated his kamui to the utmost limit and created a pseudo-blade of kamui.
It was possible in theory — but it was the first time it had ever succeeded.
The surging kamui blade deflected the assassin’s <Annihilation> sword.
On top of that, the black cloth mask was lightly cut.
The cloth gently fell from her mouth.
“—I’m surprised. To think that other than through spirit magic, you would pull out a kamui blade.”
The one who smiled fearlessly was—
With clear grey eyes, a beautiful girl.
“—This is a reward for that. See through it this time.”
And then, the sword flash burst out.
“Absolute Blade Arts, First Form — <Purple Lightning>.”
He awoke on top of a soft bed.
(Somehow, it feels like this has happened before……)
In his hazy state of mind, he thought that.
“It appears you’ve finally woken up.”
The bewitching voice that came from close to his ear.
Turning around, he found Greyworth sitting at the bedside smiling.
“……What was that all about?”
Kamito asked looking displeased.
……No, that wasn’t a good question. He somewhat understood her objective.
“Is there something lacking in my sword?”
“That’s right. Since rather than through theory, it’s faster to learn with the body.”
The thing lacking in Kamito’s sword.
That was the existence of something to protect.
Certainly, when he had fought to protect the book — namely, Restia, the sensation he had from that resolution to protect felt like it had sharpened his entire body into a blade.
“—With the body, huh.”
Kamito said cynically and pushed on the top of his shoulder which was hurting.
What Greyworth had unleashed last: that blade technique.
If Kamito’s reaction had been even a moment too slow, it would have pierced his heart.
“The ones who’ve seen through my Absolute Blade Arts twice consists of only you. It’s praiseworthy.”
“……If I hadn’t seen through it, I’d be dead.”
“Well, that may be true.”
Kamito sighed at the witch who was without a shred of timidity.
“Anyway, your form back then, what exactly—?”
At that time, the face he had glanced beneath the black cloth was a girl of about fifteen years of age.
Her stature was also much smaller. If it was the same physique as right now, perhaps Kamito would have seen through her identity at the beginning.
“I changed my body a little. I can restore my youth with a certain cycle.”
—In the past, that was the <Wish> the <Dusk Witch> had obtained.
And for some reason, Greyworth muttered that as if in self-derision.
“Eternal youth……don’t tell me, ageless and immortal?”
“It’s not that convenient of a thing. It’s not something separate from this world, the spirit kings’ blessings, that is.”
She shrugged her shoulders and—
Opened the <Key of Sulaiman> she had in her hands.
“—Now then, it was a promise. Have the ring in your hands.”
Kamito took out the ring and placed it on his palm with a nervous face.
Greyworth lined up the ritual tools on the ground with practiced movements and held her hand over the ring, then began chanting the words of releasing written in the book.
The ring in his hands shone bluish white.
Moreover, the spirit language characters inscribed on the front face flashed as if burning—
In the next instant, a fierce gale raged within the room.
His vision was shrouded by black fog.
No, it wasn’t fog, instead there were whirling black feathers.
Shining with darkness, the wings that were more beautiful than anything in this world.
“—This is surprising. I didn’t think it would be a spirit of the highest rank that can take on a human appearance.”
Greyworth raised a voice of admiration.
Kamito’s lips were quivering and his outstretched fingers touched the wings.
“—I was waiting, Kamito.”
The freed darkness spirit girl—
Placed her hand on Kamito’s cheek and smiled gently.
Kamito cleared his throat and,
“—The meeting between Greyworth and I was like that.”
Averting his eyes slightly from Claire, he ended the story.
……As he expected, talking about things from far in the past was a little embarrassing.
While Kamito was telling his story, Claire had not once spoken and simply gazed at him as she listened.
“You, that sounds like it was troublesome……”
“Yeah, because of Greyworth, I faced death any number of times……”
The <Dusk Witch>’s Absolute Blade Arts had been beaten into his body.
To tell the truth, he didn’t really want to remember those unreasonable days of training.
“Umm, that’s not it……no, it’s fine.”
Claire corrected herself as she shook her head.
“So, what happened next?”
“With the freed darkness spirit. I don’t really know much about her.”
“……Th, that is—”
Kamito hurriedly averted his gaze. If he continued the story anymore, he would need to talk about the birth of <Ren Ashbell>.
Just then, the lights in the theater went out and the surroundings became pitch black.
It appeared the action drama was finally going to start.
“It looks like it’s going to begin. We’ll continue this next time.”
“……It can’t be helped.”
He heard Claire’s sigh in the darkness.
“But I’m a little jealous.”
“Because both the academy director and that darkness spirit girl know the Kamito from the past.”
“……I’m cold. Warm me up.”
Claire placed her small hand on top of Kamito’s palm.
“What an extravagant ojou-sama……”
Kamito smiled wryly and held that hand softly.
“……I’m not jealous, okay.”
Claire’s voice was drowned out by the sound of bells from the showing.