145-Flower garden

'Hmm. Lyna, your choice of stairs wasn't an outlier, was it?

 There are a total of five staircases per the top of the great tree.
 We drew three of them, and besides me, Rei and Misa are on their way.

 The staircase that Lyna chose was definitely not the right one.

Oh, yeah. It was an outlier. It was a downstairs staircase.

 If I went down those stairs, I would have been back again during the ordeal, as the Great Tree of Enyeunyen said.
 If the stairs I'm going down are a hit, there's no way I'm going to meet you on the way.

 It's forbidden to destroy walls and other structures and take any path other than the one that should be there.
 So, the only thing to consider is--

...a hidden passage?

 When I asked, Lyna nodded her head inquiringly.
 I suppose hidden passageways also count as paths that should be there.

'When I was going down the stairs, I remembered that I had been here before. I knew I'd been here before. I had a feeling there wasn't a single staircase in Gniere, so I was looking for a wall, and then a hidden passage appeared, just like now.

 I see.
 So it wasn't just a test of luck.

You hear me?

 <I'll be talking to all my agents on the leaks.

"There's another hidden passage at the bottom of the stairs. If you find it, it will lead you to the sky. Look for it.



I understand.

 Misha and the others responded with an understanding.
 If all goes well, we will all be able to reach the heavens.

''Well, Lyna, if you've passed through here before, you can take the spirit test. If you've been through here, you must have been tested by the spirits, right?

 When I asked her that, she twisted her head.

''Hmmm... I can't remember the memory of being tested by the spirits at all... but I think I went through the stairs of Gniere to the top of the sky...'' ...

 Do you just can't remember, or were you in a position to see the Spirit King without being tested?

I'm sure there was a shortcut in there somewhere.

That's something I'd love to find out.

 <I use the magic of and project the vision of Ray and the others there.
 I show it to Lyna, and we continue on.

If you remember anything else, just let me know.


 I walked up the stairs.
 Lyna was following behind me, while she kept her gaze fixed on the vision of Ray and the others reflected in her .

 After advancing for a while, the end of the stairs was cut off.


 When I looked out from there, I saw a dozen or so tubular trees stretching toward the top. All of them were large enough to hold about three people.

 Probably inside those tubular trees is the staircase that Rey and Misa are climbing up.
 If I looked down, I could see the ordeal room.

''This looks like an ordeal?''

 Lyna raises her voice and points to a wooden plaque that was nearby.

 --a test of wisdom and courage--.
 If you step out into the pathless path, that is, a path will appear.
 This path will reject everything but courage and plunge you into the abyss.

Hmm. "Hmm. I should believe that there is a way and go on. Perhaps if you try to play it safe with a flying spell or something, you'll fall and fail.

 Without hesitation, I stepped out into the air.
 I heard a thumping of feet. There must be an invisible staircase there.

'Follow me, follow me.


 Behind me, Lyna walks along with a bit of trepidation.
 After a while, I stopped.

"I'm going to turn around here.

 I turned, believing the landing for the stairs was there.
 Kotsun's feet stepped through the air and up the folding stairs.

'...How do you know?

'Think about it. Didn't every staircase you ever went up always turn around for every hundred steps you went up? Everything was spaced the same, from the size of the dance floor to everything else. I can't think of anything but a hint that he was giving us a hint on how to tackle this ordeal.

 It's a test of wisdom and courage.
 Along with courage, it was also a test of wisdom to see if you noticed it or not.

''Even if you asked me to try to remember, I didn't care about the number of stairs, much less the size of the place...''

Okay. Well, that's okay. All you have to do is concentrate on remembering the shortcut.

 Lyna said, staring at my back.

'That's amazing. It looked like you were just walking.'

What? This is nothing more than a kid's trick. The higher you go, the more difficult the ordeal will be.

 As she said this, Lyna stopped.
 She turned her head to the side and stared into the void.

'What's wrong?'

"...I remember...I think...I think...I think there's a way in here...

 The stairs turn back every hundred steps up.
 Right now, from the landing, it's just around the third step.

 There shouldn't have been any particular hint that they could advance sideways, but if Lyna says there's a path, it's not surprising that there's a path.

''A hidden passage?''

'Maybe. But I don't know if it's a shortcut, but...

 Lyna took a bold step forward.
 It should have been completely off the stairs, but she didn't fall.

 There's an invisible path there.

''........Can I go this way......? I had a feeling there was something important over here...

 With a wistful look, Lyna said.

'Let's go together,'

Are you sure? Maybe it's a long way around?

I feel like I should know who you are.

 She knows about the spirit schoolhouse up to this point and is about to meet the spirit king.
 If she recalls her memory, it might give her a clue as to who the Spirit King is.

 Since it's unclear whether the Spirit King is a friend or foe, there's no harm in getting the information.

''Thank you.''

 Smiling, Lyna went down an invisible staircase.
 I thought it was going up, but that staircase was down.

''........I guess it's going to be a long way to get to the top......?''

Hey, you know that Ray and the others are on their way. It wouldn't hurt to find out what's in here.

 Moving further ahead, Lyna stopped.
 She quickly reached out in front of her and touched something she couldn't see.

'Maybe there's a door here.

Let's open it up.

 I switch positions with Lyna and reach for the space where I can't see anything.
 I feel what feels like a door for sure, and it runs through my fingers.

 Groping, I find a knob and turn it.
 With a creak, an old-fashioned sound, the door opens.

 I stepped out into it.


 Lyna raises her voice.

 As if the world had been repainted with a brush, the whole area was transformed into a field of flowers.
 Reds, blues, and yellows of every color I've ever seen are blooming in abundance.

 At the top of the hill where we are now, a wooden door stands alone.
 If you open this door, you will be able to return to your original place.

What do you remember?


 Shaking her head, Lyna looked at the field of flowers in front of her, stunned.

 How long had she been doing so?
 Harare, and a teardrop of tears spills out of her eyes.

''........Ah, that.......? Funny.......what's wrong.......?

 Lyna wiped her hands on them, confused by the tears that were welling up.

'I don't know... I can't remember any of it... but I feel like I've been here, many times before...'

 She walks away, sucked into the memories.


 Grabbing her by the shoulders, Lyna looked back at her curiously.

'I know you're there. Show yourself.'

 I stared at the field of flowers with my evil eye.
 Then a black haze gathered in one place, and a demon with six horns appeared from within it.

 It was the Curse King Kaihiram Jiste.

''Sorry to surprise you, Demon King.

 The Curse King said in a female tone.
 'So you're still in your Jiste persona now.

'I've been waiting for someone to come here. Here, the Great Tree of Enyeunyen won't even notice. We'll be able to escape the Spirit King's surveillance.''

 I can't see any hostility.
 In the first place, when you're in Jiste's personality, your magic power is much less than that of Caihiram.

 No matter what he plans to do, he can't harm me.

''Hm. "Hmm... You sound like you're in enmity with the Spirit King?

 Giste nodded and said.

''The Curse King is being blasphemed. He didn't get a failing grade, but the Spirit King gave him an order. He threatened me to do as he said if I wanted to get the Curse King back, so Gerad, the Curse King's man, went to Derzogade.

 God forbid, huh?

 The body of the Curse King Kaihiram is the same as that of Jiste, who is here now.
 Is it really possible to match only its roots to the divine concealment?

 Well, the Curse King itself is special and the other party is a spirit.
 It's not unlikely.

 It could also be that Kaihiram's personality was sealed to prevent it from coming to the surface.

 Regardless of his true intentions, the Scarlet Monument King is definitely under the Spirit King at the moment.
 If the Curse King's subordinates were threatened by the Spirit King, is it reasonable to assume that the three demon clans that came to Delzogade were all motivated by the Spirit King's intentions?

''The Underworld King Aegis is also related to the Spirit King?''

The Dark Lord is probably holding his people hostage. He's probably just as reluctant to stay in this genie's schoolhouse as I am.

 The Underworld King Ygess said that the four evil royal families were fighting together because of the spirits.
 If you wanted to help your subordinates, you should have explained the details to me, but then you would have put their lives in danger?

 Well, Yeezus is a proud man.
 Anyway, he doesn't strike me as the kind of character to show weakness.

'The Curse King's men, Gerad, had half a magic sword. It was the plundering sword Gilionoges that belonged to Sin Reglia. Do you know where he got it?

I think it was given to me by the Spirit King. He wanted me to lure Misa Iliologue out.

 Singh is in a divine hiding place.
 It's not unnatural to think that the Spirit King took half of the magic sword and gave it to the Cursed King's men.

''Who is the Spirit King?''

 Giste shook her head from side to side.

''I don't know.... But it seems like he's been here in Ahartheln for a long time, two thousand years ago. Shortly after the Demon King was reincarnated, the Great Spirit Reno disappeared, and I heard that he was protecting the spirits as his replacement.''

 Giste paints a magic circle.
 The magical particles gather and the figures in it are drawn.

'Once, I saw a figure of the Spirit King. He's like this.

 What Jiste drew with his magic power was a jet black full body armor and a disastrous mask.
 He was the man who had invaded the