146-Steps of a hero

Did you see the Spirit King with his mask off?

 When he asked, Jiste shook his head from side to side.
 Well, I suppose so. He is deliberately wearing a mask that hides his magic power. I can only think of it as hiding your identity.

''Is there anything else you remember?''

''I'm ... sorry. After seeing the Spirit King, I immediately lost consciousness........

 He must have switched personalities to the Curse King Kaihiram.
 And now he's being kidnapped.

"Please, my Lord Demon King. Save Kaihiram. I know you two don't get along very well, but I don't have anyone else to turn to...

 Not all of it is true, but the masked man's information was useful.

 If it's a trap, let's step on it.

"My men are hiding in the shadows. Might as well save Cahillum.

Thank you, Your Majesty.

 Jiste gives a big smile.
 It would be more peaceful if Kaihiram's personality didn't come out like this.

 Well, it's going to happen. It can't be helped.
 I looked at Lyna and said.

"No more," I said.


 She stared ahead and walked through a field of flowers, as if drawn by something.
 Then she stood in the middle of this space.

 A vine grass was wrapped around what looked like a stick, and a single white flower was stuck in it.
 Lyna reaches out and takes the flower in her hand.

 Then, as if with a will, the vine grass unravels, revealing the figure of the stick-like thing that was wrapped around it.

 It was a sword.
 It's a nondescript iron sword with no magic in it.

 It must have passed a long time.
 The blade is rusted and tattered.

 The sword thrust into the ground and a flower pointed at me.
 It seemed like a tombstone there.

''It's sad...''

 Lyna murmured.
 Tears were spilling out of her eyes again.

''I have to go........''

 Strong emotions bleed through the words.

''There's something I haven't told you yet that I had to tell you...''

 I proceeded loosely and stood beside her.
 Lyna turned around to look at me.

''Well I can't remember, but I'm sure you'll understand when you see her...''

To the Spirit King?

 Curtly, Lyna nodded.

I have a feeling.

 If the Spirit King is that masked man, what does he want?

Ray, can you hear me?

 <I call out over a thought transmission.
 After a moment's delay, a voice answered.


''During the Demon Sword Tournament, you were stabbed with a contract magic sword in exchange for curing your mother's spirit disease, right?


As far as you know, it was Demon Emperor Elio who plotted it. But he was just a puppet.

 After the war with Azation, I asked Elio about it, as I had the opportunity to ask him about it, but he still said he was threatened by an unidentified demon race.

''Just to be sure I ask, you didn't make this up yourself, did you?

No matter how much I wanted peace, I couldn't risk my mother's life for it.

 I knew it would be.
 In other words, there is an unidentified someone who threatened Ray and stabbed the magic sword of the contract into his chest.

 Considering the history so far, there was a high possibility that it was that masked man.
 But even if that were the case, what is his purpose?

 When I tried to detach the root of the canon that had fused with the Seven Demon Emperors old Gaios and Idle at that Demon Sword Tournament to see what it was, the masked man prevented me from doing so.

 As a result, he hid the fact that the canon was Avos Dilhevia.
 Why in the world did he have to do that?

 If I hadn't noticed Avos Dilhevia's true identity, Kanon would have died as a false demon king.
 Then was the purpose of killing canon?

 Or was your goal to save me by following canon's plan?
 If it's the latter, the masked man's identity could be my subordinate, a demon race from two thousand years ago.

 For example, it's no wonder that Shin has done it.
 If you only think about the Demon Sword Tournament, though.

 If it was Shin, then this situation right now is inexplicable.

 As long as I've survived, he has no reason to stay out of sight.
 I'm sure you'll be able to find a way to make the most of your time in the city.

 If that was the case, was the goal still to kill canon?
 If it was the work of someone who had a grudge against him, it was a possibility.

'Oh, hey, do you mind?'

 Lyna calls out to me.

'Um, I remember where Ray is right now, I think I've seen it before. Maybe there was a shortcut to the heavens.

 <Lyna says while looking at the remote clairvoyance (limnet).

'Ho. Where are you?

'Well, if we go a little further, I think we'll probably meet up with Mass.

"...what? Is that so?

 Misa's voice can be heard from .
 Misa and Ray were each advancing down a staircase covered by a wooden wall, and they were unable to grasp each other's position.

 After a while, a circular space was seen in Ray's vision.
 A passageway is visible on the other side, and Mass appears from it.

'Oh, there you really are! I was so heartbroken because I didn't know what would happen if I was alone!'

 Mass ran over to Ray.
 Then a voice echoed through the circular space.

'Mm. 'Well done, you've made it this far.'

 It is the voice of Enyeunyen.

'In this place, you will be put to the test of choice. As you can see, you will have to pass through that door in order to move on.

 The circular room had a single, sturdy-looking door.

But the door is locked. You have two choices to get to the top. If the two sides fight each other here and whichever side wins, the door to the top will be opened. But the loser will have to return to the Tribulation Room.

 Ray asked.

'What's the other option?'

The best thing for us to do is to work together and find another way.

 Ray and Misa looked at each other.

'If we fight, one of us can certainly move on, but if we both try to move on, does that mean we can't always find our way?'

That's true.

Well, um, how can I help you?

 Misa laughs in annoyance.

'If I deliberately lose, I can certainly proceed with Rei-san alone, and that might be better.

 Then Lyna said to me.

'Don't worry, we can both go.'

"Ray, Mhysa. You two should go. I know where the other roads are.

 Yes, I send them a thought transmission (leaks).
 They nodded.

"We'll stick together.

Hmm. Well, let me give you a hint. The way forward lies somewhere in between the choices. You have 5 minutes to find it. If you don't find it by then, you'll fail the test. You will be sent back to the trial period, so think carefully.

 As he said this, the sign of Enyeunyen disappeared.
 Immediately Lyna said.

'There are two stone pedestals between the choices, right?

 There are pedestals at the top and bottom ends of the circular room.

I think there's a stone statue on one of the pedestals.

 On the pedestal at the bottom end, there were two stone statues.

''If we both get on the other pedestal and strike the same pose as the stone statue, it will open the most direct passage to the heavens.

 I sent those words verbatim to both of them via a thought transmission (leaks).

I guess that's what it means.

"Well, uh...

 Mass stares at the stone statue as if she's shying away from it.

'What's up?' The sooner the better.

'Yes, I know, but the pose of this stone statue...'

 The two stone statues on a pedestal at the bottom end are embracing.
 One has his hands around the other's waist, and the other has his hands gently on the other's face.

 They both had happy smiles on their faces.

''Well, but I guess it's a good thing we're here at Mass...''

 Ray says with a wry smile.

'Indeed. It would have been quite a challenge if I'd been there.'

 Huff, Ray laughs briskly.

'I would have had to fight Anos as hard as I could again, wouldn't I?

'Well, let's see. Which is when you're talking about that?

What are you talking about?

I'm sorry. It was nothing.

 Mass waved a hand in a hurry to dismiss the thought.


 Ray jumps on the pedestal and reaches for her.

'Come on. It's okay.


 Mass grabbed Ray's hand and climbed up onto the pedestal.

'Um, folks, please don't look at me...'

Hmm. I'm afraid that's not going to be easy. How do I know they won't try something to get me to close my eyes?

Don't worry. We won't let you go cold.

Yes, yes I'm aware of that, but...

 Misa is lying face down with a bright red face, squirming and rubbing her hands together.

 Even as she does so, the time limit is passing by the minute.
 It seems to be hard to make up your mind, but in this situation, we'll just have to leave it to Ray.

 Well, there's no need to worry about it.

 That man, the brave canon has given courage to others many times before.
 This kind of thing must be their forte.

How many times do I have to do it?

 Casually, Ray said.

'Gah, I'm not counting, oh no!

Forty-seven times.


 Mass blushes.

'.........is eight times........?


Forty-eight times that's right... and, um, Mr. Ray, if you count the time we passed each other in the hallway the other day when we lightened it up. .....

 Ray quickly puts his hands gently on Missa's face.

'I knew it, I remembered it.'

 Ray smiles at me.

''.........it's not fair to try.......''

 As she says this, Misa puts her hands around Ray's waist, unafraid.

'I'm sorry. I just wanted to be mean to you because you lied to me about not remembering.

 Tightly and even more tightly, Misa hugged Ray.
 Their stance is almost the same as the stone statue.

''........Ah, that? Nothing is going to happen, right?

 Then Lyna's voice echoed in .

"Maybe it's a facial expression?


 Missa's face strengthens, as if she's nervous.

''Is it okay to go like this?''

 He tried to smile, but it didn't quite work.
 It was far from the happy smile of the stone statue.

 When you think about it, this ordeal is quite a challenge.
 Not much of an actor would be able to imitate a happy smile, let alone a posture.


 Bringing his face closer, Rei stared into her eyes.

''Leigh-san........too close.......? This isn't the posture of a stone statue...?

I'm sorry. I just wanted to make up for what I did earlier.


 Misa looked back at Ray with a pouting look on her face.

'I've missed you during these exams,'

 However, it shouldn't have been an hour yet.

''........I'm sure I've missed you more.......''

 Hmm. They say that those who fall in love never want to be apart, but I didn't know that they were in love.
 Love is a very deep thing.

"...Mr. Ray...

 Their faces were getting closer and closer to each other as if they were being sucked into each other's gaze, as if their shame had flown away with their earlier words.
 It was as if they were about to kiss each other.

'I don't want to leave you anymore,'

It's okay. I'm not letting go.

 At those words, Misa gave a big smile.
 Ray also smiles as he gets trapped and returns to the same posture as the original stone statue.

 Just then, a thud, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle, and in the center of the circular room, a large tree quickly grew up in the middle of the room.
 Perhaps that's the path to the upper floor.

 As expected of a brave man.
 I'm not sure how easy it is to break the tension in the mass.

 I'm sure you'll be able to find a way to make it work.