107-Legendary Hero

 There was silence.

 Even though we were in the middle of a battlefield, the air surrounding me and the man in front of me was calm and quiet for all intents and purposes.

 Avos Dilhevia put her hand on the mask and slowly removed it.
 The face that was revealed was unmistakably that of Ray Grandsdry.

'How did you know?'

 A voice echoes. The usual Ray's voice.
 That masked magic tool must have been used to change his voice.

''Ray Grandsdry is a reincarnation. Since the Jesta family's magic inheritance didn't work, it's highly likely that was used. And your values are alien in this era. It's also the fact that you pretended to know me somehow.

 At this point, he thought he had no memory of it.
 Still, I was almost certain it was a reincarnated person.

'If you're a reincarnation that knows me, who is it, you were once my right hand man that I fought, Shin. It was to hide the fact that you were canon. In truth, you can probably use magic at a reasonable level. But if you use magic properly, even your demon body will be accompanied by holy power. So playing Sin was a convenient way to hide your identity.

 Singh was not good at magic. By playing that guy, he hid the magic that he should have been able to use. I'm sure that a weak level of magic could just barely hide the holy power.

 And the only root magic that was better than mine was able to fool my evil eye.

"When you first arrived in Gaillardite, you gave Misa a seashell necklace at the archery range. Do you remember that? "Do you have one clam? You asked the shopkeeper. But a clam necklace is a necklace made of two shells, and if you don't know the name of the necklace, you wouldn't know it. You wouldn't be asking me that unless you knew the name of the necklace.

 Ray could expect that he had memories of his preincarnation at that point.

'The clasp on the necklace of the single shell has a structure that is not found in Dillhade. It's not just a matter of time before you can get it off, but also a matter of when you can get it off. But Shin has no interest in ornaments. It is unlikely that he will remember the structure of Azation's necklace, even if it is Dirhade's.

 It's also possible that I just happened to see and remember it. I don't know everything about Shin, either.
 But it's certainly a surprise.

"I asked you after the rivalry test. "I asked you after the trials if you remembered something about your mastery of the sword.

 Ray replied that he didn't remember anything.

'The Unique Sword should have had some of Shin's thoughts left in it. If it had the same roots, it would have been in tune with them. But you didn't remember. If you didn't remember, then where did you find out about the One Shell Necklace?

 The demon race had not interacted with humans for two thousand years.
 It was hard to believe that Ray had gone all the way to faraway Azation, since his mother had been bothered by the spirit disease.

 It was only after Ray gave it to Misa that he explained the necklace to the class at the Brave Academy. And Ray didn't go to that class because he overslept.

''I mean, you're not Shin. And you pretended to have no memory, despite the fact that you have memories of your preincarnation.

 Ray had once told Mass that he was a liar.
 That was probably what it was about.

'If it's not Sin, who the hell is it? I can't think of anyone else two thousand years ago who could master both the unique sword and the holy sword. But if the heroic canon had been reincarnated as a demon race, it wouldn't be surprising if he was able to use both the magic sword and the holy sword,

 The hypothesis was that Rey was a brave canon.

'But if you're brave canon, why don't you reveal your identity? Now that we're at peace, you would have had no reason to hide that from me.

 That's why I hadn't noticed it before.

'Normally, you know. You thought that if I confided in you that I was a brave canon, you would realize that I was something. That there is only one root of you.

 As expected, even though canon is good at root source magic, it's not me who can't see at least that number. Rey's root source number was indeed one.

''No matter what excuse you have prepared, I'll be wondering what you did with the other six. Then, he would think of the root that was taking over the Seven Demon Emperors. Of the seven Demon Imperial Elders, only Melhayes hadn't had his root source taken over.

 What if we think it wasn't hijacked, but that it wasn't enough?

''Six of the Seven Demon Emperors have fused with the root source under Avos Dirhevia's command. The rest of the brave canon has six root sources. The numbers just fit together perfectly. It's too good to be a coincidence.

 I said to Rei, who didn't even try to deny it, but listened in silence.

'So you couldn't just confide in me that you're a brave canon. Because you were afraid that I would realize that you were Avos Dilhevia.

 Of course, there were still a number of contingencies, I suppose.
 The same is true of his mother's spirit illness and the incident at the Demon Sword Tournament.

 To be honest, there are a few questions about that, but it's not the right time to ask them.

I have a pretty good idea of what to expect, canon. What happened 2,000 years ago?

 I asked him straight up.
 Ray smiled, looking much more mature than ever before.

''It's just as you asked Eleonor, Anos. Dr. Jelga and the army of defeating the Geiradite Demon King were preparing to establish a heroic academy and destroy you after your reincarnation. I was desperately opposed to this, but they wouldn't even listen to me. Just like you said that day, the world didn't become peaceful even if you defeated the Demon King Anos. The conflict is over and now they're getting ready to fight again after two thousand years.

 The conflict will continue until one of us eradicates the other.
 That's what I once said to him.

'I was killed by one of Dr. Jelga's supporters. I pretended to decay as it was, and though I was quickly revived, there was no way I could stop the doctor's plan. Unless I take their lives....

 It would not have been possible.
 The brave canon did not have a sword to wield against humans.

''Two thousand years ago, humans made a mistake. They planned to completely annihilate Demon King Anos, who laid down his life and brought peace to the world. That's not an unreasonable plan. I had to right their wrongs somehow.

Is that why...?

 Ray nodded dully.

'I created an imaginary demon king, Avos Dilhevia. A fake demon king for humans to take revenge on.

How did you get my name away from the demons?

We talked about it. Sometimes we even fought them. ─ Sometimes we fought, but the demons were more understanding than the humans. Or perhaps it was more that they loved you. They believed me in the end. And I decided to forget Anos Voldigord.

 Did you voluntarily forget about me?

''The Spirit God and Man Sword is the holy sword to destroy you. It can cut off your preordained destiny. After 2,000 years, I cut off your destiny to be reborn as a tyrannical demon king.

Does that change my name?

''Well God knows what will happen when we break our fate, but it looks like everyone's thoughts have been answered and we won the first bet.

 They must have been able to successfully rewrite my name.
 That's why they couldn't find my name even if they went back to Ivis and the others' memories with the Time Manipulation (Levide).

 The Spirit God Human Sword cut off my fate as a tyrannical demon king and even rewrote history.

''Shin Reglia and the rest of your confidants didn't forget your name, though, as expected. They were reincarnated or separated from Dirheid again. Even the powerful demon tribe, which you say was in conflict with you before the Great War, promised to be quiet until you returned and everything was over.

 I see.
 So the demons from 2,000 years ago never show themselves to me.

 So it's not the work of Avos Dilhevia, they did it voluntarily.
 You're a human, but you've managed to get involved with the demon race like this. I'm still amazed at you.

''.......Eventually, behind the wall, the heroic academy learned that the name of the tyrannical demon king had been changed. They decided that Anos Voldigord had changed his name and was trying to get away with his schemes. Which, of course, was exactly what I was after.

 Human life is short. And so, as the years passed, the name of Anos Voldigod disappeared in the Academy of Heroes, and only the name of Avos Dilhevia would remain.

 Originally, it wouldn't have worked out so well, but the holy sword that broke the fate of the fate brought good fortune, or so it seemed.

''I fused the Six Roots with the Seven Demon Emperors. Of course, I also erased their memories and everything with their consent. Two thousand years from now, if you're in contact with the Seven Demon Emperors, they might notice the fusion. They can't lie to you, which is why they wished to erase your memories themselves.

 To protect me from the humans' schemes, the Seven Demon Emperors dared to do so.

''One remaining root. In other words, I went through many reincarnations and gradually obtained a body that was thick with demon blood. I'm the first person to become a pure-blooded demon race, though.

 I'm not sure if the brave canon has been reincarnated as a demon tribe that is completely descended from me.
 I'm mostly in a human body, so it was possible.

 I'm not going to be the only one who has a lot of experience in this field.

And this war is the end of your two thousand year plan.

 Ray nodded.

'The hatred of humans will not go away. This conflict will continue until either the tyrannical demon king or the humans are destroyed. No matter how benevolent you are, you will have no choice but to pay off the fires that fall. Even so, I can't take your life again...

 Eleonor's prediction was wrong.
 He was noble and brave to all intents and purposes, even though he had been killed by a human.

'So, you mean to say he will be avenged? 'As a tyrannical demon king, by a human.'

 Ray nodded.

'Does that stop you?'

The magic of the Sanctuary (Ask) instills a hatred of killing all demons, but the source of that hatred is Professor Jelga's. But the source of that hatred is Jelga-sensei. When it is destroyed, magic will disappear. I believe that. I believe that you are not as stupid as you think you are.

 Ray's serious gaze shot through me.
 It certainly reminded me of the canon I once had.

'It was never the path I wanted to take, but I'm still a brave man. As long as there are people who call me brave, I will atone for people's mistakes. I will atone for the mistakes of the brave men and women of the past. Two thousand years ago, you gave your life to make this peace. It's a wonderful, wonderful world we've come to. When we were here, it was inconceivable. The world is getting better and better.

 Unlike me, Ray must have seen the changing world for two thousand years, going through a series of incarnations.

"Demon King Anos.

 'As it was two thousand years ago,' said Ray.

"Humans were stupid. And I still believe in them. I want to show you how good they are. You always wanted real peace.

The Brave Canon.

 Like 2,000 years ago, I said, "I don't see why you should do that.

"There's no reason for you to go to such lengths. You've fought hard enough. Are you going to sacrifice yourself for one more trifle?

 Ray shook his head slowly.
 Then he said, "I still remember the promise I made that day.

'I still remember the promise I made that day,' he said. This is the peace you kept, the peace you made, the peace you pursued. I am not happy that it has come to this, but I still want to fight for you this time as your friend.

 I don't need to ask you now what that means.

'You've spent a long time and you've made grand preparations. You've had your doubts. You've spent a long time preparing for this project and you've had your doubts, you've had your fears. But you have overcome all of them, and you have made up your mind. Your thoughts of two thousand years are not so cheap as to be shaken by my words, which I have just heard here and now.

 I'm not going to say stop.
 To stop me with words would be to underestimate Ray's will.

"This wasn't a clam necklace. This was Michens' necklace.

 What I explained to him at the College of the Brave comes to mind.
 Two thousand years ago, in the early days of the Great War, most of the people who went to war did not make it back alive. Therefore, lovers were reincarnated in the same era and wished to be reunited this time with their Michens necklaces.

 The Michens shells, which are found in the lake of Gailladite, were divided into two parts and two necklaces were made. They gave one of them to their lovers and wore the other one on themselves as they went into battle.

 Michens shells drink from the sacred water and are said to be the messengers of the gods.
 The humans of the time believed that the shell, divided in two, would guide them to their roots and bring them together after they died.

 The brave canon, Rei had left his thoughts, which he could never communicate, on that necklace and said goodbye to his loved ones.

'This necklace, if you want it back, I will take it from you with all my might.

I was hoping you'd say that. 

 Ray tipped the mask to his waist.
 Then he drew a magic circle on the spot.

 A divine light flooded out and it took the shape of a sword.
 The Spirit God Man Sword that had been placed in the Demon King's Castle was summoned to this place.

 This man also knows very well that I cannot move with words.

''I'm going to go. To protect you.

 The brave man said, holding the Spirit God Man Sword at the ready.

 I opened my arms and stood in front of him.
 I don't know how many times I'll be fighting this man.

 Still, I've never felt this way about a fight before.

"I won't let you go. I'm doing this for your protection.