As I left the College of the Brave, I saw Sasha lying face down by the gate.
''Did you bother to wait for me, Sasha?''
When I called out to her, Sasha's face fell and she turned around to look at me.
But she quickly glared at me with a snap as if she was having second thoughts.
'You've been waiting, not waiting. 'You're late, you're late. You'd be worried that something was wrong.
Why are you worried about me?
What do you mean...
Sasha thought and said.
''But I was wondering if we'd killed all those people before the exchange.
It's quite understandable, don't you think?
''The academy exchange is also about teaching each other's magic techniques, but after all, the purpose of the academy exchange is the friendship between Dilheid and Azation, so if we do it recklessly like we did in Delzogade, we'll be in big trouble.
I don't know if they're planning to.
Sasha shuts down as if her momentum has been drained.
As I walked out, Sasha lined up beside him.
'As I said before, it's too early to assume that humans are hostile to the demon race just because the heroic canon defeated me and passed on a false history to posterity.
An unruly and powerful demon king has brought peace to the world on a whim. This doesn't mean that humans can't forget the fear of the Demon King. There's no guarantee that the reincarnated Demon Lord won't destroy the world on a whim this time.
Sasha nodded as if she was convinced.
''So even though you knew it was a lie, you decided to pretend that the brave man defeated him in order to reassure the people?
It's probably for the best. A tyrannical demon king is dead, that's a fact. The fact is that the tyrannical demon king is dead, and few believe that his tyrannical enemy actually wanted peace.
So much so that resentment and vindictiveness was swirling and overflowing in the Great War two thousand years ago.
It was disgusting.
''No wonder they believe in that lore and are so chic that they are the descendants of heroes and take a strong attitude in front of the demon race. It's a pretty thing.
Who was that guy who pretended to be understanding and who was so hysterical about blowing up that guy who was so chic just now?
Sasha glares at me intently.
"What, it's not very pretty, is it? I'm just playing with you.
Oh my God. I'll never forgive myself for that one.
I wouldn't worry about that.
What do you mean, maybe we're not here for friendship? Did you find out anything else besides what happened earlier?
I can't say I've figured it out, but unfortunately, it's just more of a mystery.
Two thousand years ago, the brave Kanon was killed by humans.
I suppose it was after they built a wall around the world and I was reborn.
What happened to him?
Why should we kill the heroes who have fought the tyrannical demon king and saved humanity so many times by our own hands?
Were you involved in a power struggle?
Or was it Avos Dilhevia?
Asking Eleonor seems to be the quickest way to go for now.
I think that guy Lao, or whatever he's called, was faking being beaten up by me on purpose.
Is it just to catch us off guard during the trials?
'And I guess he wanted to gauge my strength. Even going so far as to go out of his way to pick a fight with me in a blatant manner.
'Hmm. That's cheeky.
Sasha's gaze becomes sharp. I'm sure you're feeling a lot of resentment after the incident earlier. If you find yourself in the middle of an examination, I'm not sure I'll have a chance.
Sasha realizes something and tugs at my sleeve.
She turned her gaze to see a man with white hair and a neutral face and a girl with habitual chestnut hair.
They were Ray and Misa. They were walking in the street in good company.
'I see you've finished advising the Fun Union.
I was about to call out to her, but Sasha grabbed my hand.
Well I don't want to interrupt you.
What's bothering you?
Well, maybe it's not a distraction, but, you know, it might be a distraction.
Hmm. Sounds like you got your back teeth caught in.
"Geez. Would you stop looking at me like that? So, you see, simply put, Mass doesn't like Ray.
When did that happen?
I don't know what the hell he's thinking. But he does talk to you a lot. I mean, don't you think the guys know better?
I'm sorry, I haven't had a chance to talk to you about that.
Ray and his friends turned the corner and entered the center street.
'We're going to tailgate.'
'Huh! Nah, you can't. That's inappropriate.
If you're not interested, you don't have to come.
I follow Ray and the others into the central street.
It was quite a crowd, but with my magical eyes, I couldn't lose them.
If I listened, I could hear their conversation.
''Fufu, it's amazing...there are a lot of stalls out there!''
Is there a festival going on?
Ray and Misa are smiling and laughing as usual.
''As I recall, it was the birthday of the great hero Gerga. It was written on the paper I got before the expedition exam. It's the day of Jelga's birth soon, and they'll be celebrating for over a month in conjunction with it.''
Rei and the others walked happily down the street, looking at the stalls and performances that lined the street. Mass suddenly stopped at one of the stalls.
Would you like to try it?
Okay. I'm going to go have a go.
They headed to the stall of an archery shop. It seems that you use a wooden bow to shoot at the targets that are set up. There are several different types of targets, and each one gives you a different prize when you hit it.
The currency in Dillheid and Azation is different, but it's redeemed in advance. After Missa paid, she received a wooden bow.
The distance to the target is about eight meters or so.
There are three arrows. Missa aimed at the target and drew the bow, but all three missed the target beautifully.
"Hahaha, not good at all...
Despite her failure, Mass seemed to enjoy it.
'Would you like to try it, Ray?'
I've never used a bow in my life.
Ray pays the shopkeeper and gets a wooden bow from Mass.
'Which one were you aiming at?'
Uh, you know, the target.
Mass points to it.
The prize looked like a seashell necklace.
'Let's see if I win.'
Ray drew his bow and took aim.
The arrow that was fired slightly grazed the target.
The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that it's not a good idea to have a good time. It's not so close!
I'll guess next time.
Refreshingly, Ray smiles.
'Well, can you say that? It would be embarrassing if it didn't hit you, wouldn't it?
You want to bet?
Well, if I miss, you can buy me a drink.
By the time Ray said that, the arrow had already hit the middle of the target.
'Wow! That's my girl. It's amazing. And it's right in the middle!
That's the first time you've held a bow in your hand.
Even though it's not a sword, he's still a fast-growing man.
There's a lot of flirting going on in there.
Sasha is peeking at them over my back.
I guess they were interested after all.
'Aren't those two always like that?
No, it's not. It's just that the atmosphere I'm exuding is three times sweeter than usual.
Sasha gave her a somewhat envious look.
''Congratulations. With your skills like that, it's safe to say that the Deep Darkness will be here.''
The owner says.
Oops, sorry. I shouldn't have told you that at Nativity. Which one?
The owner shows some shell necklaces.
"Do you have one of the shells?
The proprietor reached into the back shelf and picked up a shell necklace.
â€œAye. You can put it on her.
The owner hands Ray a necklace with two strands of shells.
They leave the stall.
''Haha, I'm afraid you misunderstood. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to.
I don't think it's a big deal.
Missa laughs, embarrassed.
'Are you the one who was good?'
'What? What is it?
'If you like Anos, you wouldn't want him to mistake you for me, would you?
After a moment of a puzzled expression, Misa hurriedly waved her hand.
''N-No, it's not! That's exactly what it is, a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding! I certainly respect and admire Anos-sama, and I admire him. But I'm too afraid just to think about that in the first place, and even the Fan Union is a front for the Unificationists. Besides.........
Then Ray smiled briskly.
'That's good to hear, then.'
...uh, that's good...?
Ray quickly holds out the shell necklace from earlier.
'I thought I'd give it to you,'
Mass looks back at Ray's face in surprise.
'My mother took care of me, so I'm thanking her for that. It wasn't much, sorry.'
No....I didn't really do anything for you after all. It was all thanks to Anos-sama that Ray-san's mother was spared.
"You risked your life to save my mother's. You didn't know me very well. It's enough to repay you.
''It's kind of embarrassing to be told again...''
So do I.
Ray looks into Misa's eyes.
'But........can I have it.......?
I win the bet, right?
''Oh ... well ...''
Misa's cheeks were slightly vermillion.
'Can I have it?'
She nods coyly, scowling.
She takes the shell necklace from Ray and goes to put it on as soon as she can.
'Huh? How do you think this will come off? The structure is different from Dillhade's...?
Let me see.
Ray picked up the necklace and easily unfastened the clasp.
He quickly put his arm around Missa's neck and put the necklace on her.
''Haha........sorry for what.......how is......?
You look good.
Misa looks down in embarrassment.
'It's beautiful, isn't it, this necklace, with two shells and two strings, a type you rarely see in Dillhade, but is it popular in Azation?'
That's where the conversation stops.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, they just stared at each other as if time had stopped.
Eventually, after how long they had been doing so, Ray said.
'Shall we go and see the other performances?'
They start walking side by side.
The traffic is even more crowded than before with the crowds of people who have come for the Nativity, and Misa doesn't seem to be able to walk as much as she would like.
And Ray takes her hand in his.
''Well ... uh ... well ...''
I'm not very good at leaks. I don't want to lose them.
Hand in hand, they were smiling and enjoying the crowded Nativity.