「Kirika......Why?! Why, are you here and why are you doing this sort of thing?!!」
「Celesta, I.......Ku! 」
Both Kirika and Celesta emerged from within the wagon whilst still clashing swords.
Celesta was wearing a similar silvery white armor like Kirika's and the flames that surrounded them was reflecting the light from their shining armor's.
However in contrast to Kirika's blue colors, the color of her necktie and her skirt were red, the color of her fluttering mantle was also crimson.
There doesn't seem to be a big difference in their ages, however Celesta seemed to have a slightly more tall and slender figure in comparison to Kirika. Furthermore she had a long ponytail.
She also had long and narrow eyes which seemed to possess a lot of pride in them, her look of astonishment was quickly changed into a color of hostility/animosity.
「Answer me! You, who was conferred the honorable title of Princess Knight by the kingdom of Ranbadeia, no, by Princess Sistina, and you are saying that you would betray her?!!」
「Th, that is....!」
「If you are not unable to answer, I will view you as my enemy! Obediently taste the sharpness of my blade! 」
Celesta swung ferociously with a flurry of high-speed techniques as she spoke in anger. Kirika retreated backwards two or three steps.
This is bad, she seems to be considerably strong. Kirika was probably a little stronger than Celesta, however, Kirika is obviously fighting with the hesitation due to the fact that Celesta was an acquaintance/friend.
On the other hand Celesta was vigorously wielding her sword, with the full intention to cut down and kill Kirika.
「What is the Princess Knight doing?......This is not an opponent she can go easy on」 (Palmyra Speaking)
Palmyra clicks her tongue in distaste. (Tsk)
From the fact that Celesta was able to move fluidly amongst the "Flames of Prison", meant that she had sufficient magical resistance, whether this was through her own skills or maybe enchanted equipment is yet to be determined. In other words, even if Nina was to provide assistance with her sleeping gas, it may not be that effective on Celesta.
There is also the matter of if we take too long to wrap this up, the other guards and soldiers who were knocked out will start to regain their consciousness.
There is not many other options then for Kirika to finish this quickly with her own two hands.
「It cannot be helped.......Himekishi Kirika! As your master, I command thee! 」
「Odamori-kun!? Wa, wait.......?!」
「It is not possible to wait! The enemy before your eyes, devote all your energy into making her powerless!!」
The words of compulsion were invoked using my Enslavement Magic and it was an order she could not disobey. Kirika's body was ruled by my instructions.
Kirika was gradually getting cornered in a one sided defensive fight, Celesta was chasing after her with a flaming determination, However, in the moment my orders flew into her ears, Kirika's movement completely changed.
「What!? So fast......Guaa!?」
Celesta's sword was deflected high into the air, Kirika instantly dashed across the ground with a low posture and immediately appeared in Celesta's side. Catching Celesta off guard Kirika released a brutal roundhouse kick straight at Celesta's exposed backside.
Celesta's balance was completely destroyed as she begins to stagger. Her ponytail shakes wildly.
Kirika took her distance and immediately aimed her sharp blade directly at her former comrade. Kirika's sword was swaying with energy.
「Kuu.......Uuuu! By the spirit of my Noble Sword, Crush all evil with thy holy light.......! 」
「Wha, D, darn it....!?」
「Blinding light which destroys all darkness, Brilliant Burst!!」
Kirika's secret move, the holy sword technique which releases a torrent of sacred energy, was engulfing Celesta.
Buwaa (boom), the after effects of the ballistic impact causes the wind to blow violently over the valley. Almost as if it was blowing out the candles from the flames of purgatory, the cage of fire was being erased. Nonetheless, that sword technique has such an outrageous offensive power.
「Di, didn't she die from that? Crazy technique?!」
Nina's voice of panic can be heard as the valley is wrapped in a cloud of dust.
「No, she's fine.....look」
When the view clears up, there was the figure of Celesta who had fainted. Her mantle was ripped to shreds here and there but no visible injury was apparent on her body.
Right next to her, a small brownish red crater was gouged out.
Kirika didn't launch her attack right at Celesta, instead she aimed for the ground beneath Celesta's feet. After all my orders were to disable/make Celesta powerless, Therefore Celesta was left without a mortal wound.
「I see. Although you gave her the order to "devote her whole being" to disempower Celesta, you didn't give her the order to kill. Kufufu, The Princess Knight is obvious but I didn't expect the Slavemancer to be so lenient/soft? 」
「......If I made her kill her own former comrade with her own hands, this will truly invoke her hatred towards me and she will end up interfering with my future plans. It's as simple as that」
「Fun (exhales), I guess we shall leave it at that」
「Enough of this, began the withdrawal preparations immediately........With things as they are, we cannot afford to be playing around」
The Princess was not inside the wagon. Celesta said it herself, she was just the "bait".
The ambush was predicted in advance, the fact that someone was going to aim at the Princess seemed to have been leaked.......However, by who?
「If my expectations are correct......Princess Sistina may currently be in danger!!」
Kirika was the first person to appear in her life that Celesta "didn't approve of"
「Princess Sistina, If I may so impolite to ask, why would you allow a mysterious girl like her to be promoted to a position of importance.........?!」(Celesta speaking to Sistina)
The mysterious girl who helped the wandering Princess from a predicament when she encountered a monster outside of the castle whilst she was travelling incognito.
For someone like Kirika whom had no place to go, the Princess gave her a position as one of the imperial guards and the title of Princess Knight, she also became a close aide to the Princess.
The instant promotion into such a position was a special exception that normally would never occur, however due to the display of strength and the sublime/noble heart in addition to the fact that Kirika had the job class Princess Knight, she was able to be chosen. Most importantly, Kirika was the person who saved Sistina's life, having obtained the full trust of the Princess and the surrounding people. It was possible to be promoted.
However, Celesta wasn't convinced that Kirika deserved such a position.
The honorable/important task of protecting the Princess, should have been left to an aristocrat like Celesta, who trained in the military arts from infancy and manners required of a noble, it was a role that one had to sweat tears and blood in order to obtain.
Celesta first met Princess Sistina with her father when she was only a small child, she was fortunate enough to be granted an audience and when she saw the dazzling beauty of Princess Sistina, Celesta swore it in her heart with a yearning to fulfil the position of being a royal guard. Even if she had to exchange her life for Princess Sistina, she would do it in a heartbeat.
That is the reason she vehemently believed that the main position of being Princess Sistina's royal guard belonged to her.
「Princess, I have a really important thing to ask you today!」
「Ara (Oh?). Celesta. You've come at the right time, the delicious tea has just arrived. Shall we sit together? 」
「Ha(yes)......In that case, I will talk to you after I have received the tea! 」
「Yes, Please do」
「Then, please excuse me.....Mu.......This is very delicious tea」
「Ufufu, I'm glad to hear it. There is also cake, if you would like? 」
「Ha(yes), itadakimasu. Muuu....this is just so exquisitely delicious! 」
「I'm so glad, we still have plenty more」
Even though Celesta tried to confront the matter regarding Kirika multiple times, seeing the innocent smile of Princess Sistina, before she knew it Celesta was totally sucked into her pace and she would end up drinking tea or eating sweets together, completely forgetting her original purpose.
This time, I can't be swayed! Celesta was determined.
And, she challenged Kirika to a match. "If your ability does not live up to my standards, you do not have the qualifications to stay by the Princess's side, you should just get ready to pack your bags!" is what Celesta said.
Celesta was easily defeated in the match.
「Why.....Why can't I win?!」
「Ano(excuse me), Celesta....-san? Please don't be too depressed, look, victory or defeat is determined by luck」
「Shut up! I don't want to hear your words of pity! One, one more match! 」
Although Celesta continually pressures Kirika with her complex feelings of disapproval, Kirika never once boasted about her superior position to Celesta, Kirika was a gentle child who seemed to be concerned about Celesta instead.
It was to the point that Kirika started obtaining the trust of the various other maids and woman knights, she was becoming really popular.
After so many sparring matches and the fact that they frequently went on missions together, Celesta realized that Kirika didn't have any ulterior motives for approaching the Princess, and that Kirika was a truly honest/good-natured person.
Celesta's anguish/worries still continued. However, there was a turning point.
「Kirika's whereabouts' are unknown....You say? 」
After she went out to investigate a certain event that occurs in the frontier, her reports have stopped coming in and there has been no trace of her ever since.
Whilst trying to comfort Princess Sistina who was constantly worried, Celesta was once again troubled and bewildered.
She was supposed to feel really happy that the person she hated the most disappeared from her life, however for some reason, she just couldn't think that way.
「Surely, I am not becoming worried about her, this kind of thing......How, ab, absurd! 」
Celesta was in denial, she didn't want to accept the fact that she worried for Kirika, and she made up excuses thinking: "It's because the princess heart is in pain, therefore I cannot become happy either" or that "I have yet to settle my matches with her, there is still lingering regrets".
However, it was obvious that her heart was hazy and she just couldn't feel relieved.
At this point, there was another thing that made a definite turning point.
This was the fact that the Princess's was going to be in danger, she seemed to hear this information/report from "A reliable source"......
By the time Celesta regains her consciousness, it would appear that she was in a wagon that was shaking/jolting as it travelled.
She reflexively tried to stand up, but quickly realizes that her hands and feet has been bound/restrained.
When she raised her face slightly, she noticed the appearance of a manly figure whom was wearing a plain and simple robe, she understood that the man was looking down at her.
There was no appearance of other people in the surroundings, she could not see Kirika's figure.......Perhaps they were in the driver's seat? Or else...
The bindings around her were extremely strict. Her subordinates all lost consciousness as a result of that strange magic, and perhaps she thought that they could have all been slaughtered, whilst she was the only one brought back alive to be carried away somewhere.
Why was she left alive?.......and what the hell did this guy want with her?
She was going through all the possibilities in her head, and she steeled her resolve.
As a Woman Knight who had high pride, as a woman who was born from an aristocrat's family, as a person who has dedicated her life to Princess Sistina, there was only thing she could do in this situation.
Celesta, grinded.......she grinded her teeth, she raised her head and stared/glared directly at the man before her eyes.
She declared her intentions clearly.