147-Trial of the hidden wolf Jennul

 Ray jumped down from the pedestal and reached out to Mass.
 She took his hand and climbed down from the pedestal, diving into Ray's chest.

'Do you think it's a good idea to go up this?'

 Ray looks up at the large tree growing in the center of the circular room.
 The branches grow at regular intervals, just so he can hook his arms and legs up to it.

'Yeah. If you go up there, you'll be right at the top, I think.

 I pass on Lyna's words via
''So, the Spirit King is ahead of you, then?

 Mass said.

'About the Spirit King, there's one potentially tricky thing,'

 That's what I told him.


"There's a masked man who walked forcefully into Melhayes' dimensional prison, Azesis, at the Demon Sword Tournament, and he's the Spirit King.

"...the man Anos mentioned, the one who wore the mask of Avos Dilhevia?

Yes. However, the mask over there is a magic tool to hide the magic completely. The design was slightly different from the one you had.

 Ray thinks a lot, and then speaks up.

'I wonder what he wants?'

 I guess he had the same question as I did.
 Ray doesn't seem to have any either.

'I don't know yet. But it's possible that the man in the mask was the one who threatened you at the magic sword tournament.

 With a huff, Ray let out a small breath.

'....I thought it was all over...

 The Avos Dilhevia thing was all taken care of.
 The world was at peace now, me and Ray thought for sure.

 But there was a pang in my chest.

'Can I go ahead?'

I told him to wait until I get there, but he wouldn't listen.

 Ray smiles briskly.
 'That's the kind of man I am.

'If it's not over yet, I'll go finish it. This time, with my own hands.

 From the circumstances, it's not clear that my men who were hiding from God will be safe forever.
 There's even a possibility that they're not safe at this stage.

 We should find out who the Spirit King is and what his purpose is as soon as possible.
 If he's trying to destroy the peace of this age, we can't just abandon him.

Well, you'll be in good hands. I'll be on my way at once.

I don't even want to imagine a situation where I'd have to get help from Anos, though.

 There were not many opponents that Rey, who possessed the Spirit God Human Sword, the Unique Sword, and the Seven Roots, couldn't track down. If the Spirit King was such an enemy, he would be more than a little excited.

 Nevertheless, this is Ahartheln, and his opponent is the King of the Spirits.
 Judging from the tendency of the past trials, it is hard to believe that it would be a straightforward match.

 Even if Rey is superior to the Spirit King, we cannot be careless.


 Ray reaches for her body quickly.

''Eh, ah, kyah...''

 In a flash, Ray smiles as he holds her in his arms.

'I'm sorry. It's faster this way.'

 As soon as I said that, Rei leapt and jumped from branch to branch with Mass in her arms, and quickly climbed up a large tree.

 <While watching the scene with my remote clairvoyance (rimneto), I decide to continue onward as well.
 I parted from Jiste in a field of flowers so that the Spirit King wouldn't know that I was fighting with him.

 Returning to the original invisible staircase, Lyna and I walked up it together.
 There were several trials along the way, but Lyna's memory and my magical eye saw through the abyss and we broke through it without difficulty.

 Again, on the way to the top, Lyna called out.

'Anos, look.'

 She points to  Ray had just finished climbing a large tree.

 The place is in the clouds.
 The pure white clouds became the floor, the walls and the ceiling, forming a vast room.

 Ray looked around and found a double-opened door that led to the back of the room.
 He was about to walk to it, but he stopped.

 It must have been a sign.
 The moment Ray drew his unique sword, the clouds in the area began to turn black.

 In the next moment, there was a dazzling glow in front of his eyes and a thunderous thunderclap resounded with a zgaang.
 Illuminated by the countless thunderstorms, the one that appeared on the spot was a giant wolf.

''Hidden Wolf Gennuru........''

 Misa mutters. I know what he looks like because I learned about him in the forest of books.
 He is the spirit king's guard dog that matched the demon race two thousand years ago to the gods.

 Jennul opened his mouth and let out a cracked voice.

''--Pass through--''

 For a moment, Rei and Misa reacted as if they were struck by a void.

'I thought there was some kind of ordeal going on?

You shall not be tested here. Let it pass.

 Jennul sluggishly got up and moved out of the way of the door to clear the way.
 With a sharp click, the double doors opened by themselves.

 Beyond that was the top of a large tree, or perhaps a corridor of thick leaves and clouds.

'Don't move away,'

 Ray says this to Misa and walks carefully.
 They walked past Jennuru and stepped out into the cloud corridor.

 Again, there was a geeky sound and the double-opened door closed.
 Jennuru didn't attack or send out an ordeal.

''........I thought there was something going on, didn't I?''

 Misa says, sounding relieved.
 But Ray had a nonchalant expression on his face.

'It's not that the spirit king has any animosity towards us either, it would be best if it was just a spirit. If what happened at that magic sword tournament was also for some pressing reason....

Isn't there any chance of that happening?

I don't know. I think it would be nice.

 As they exchanged such words, they walked down the cloud corridor.
 After how long, they reached a break in the clouds.

 From there, they looked down and saw the ground.
 On the other side of the break in the clouds, there was a lush green ground floating, and a small castle could be seen there.

 Ray and Misa flew in  But no matter how far forward they went, the castle did not come any closer.


 'I'm sorry,' said Lyna, raising her voice.

'I remember. We should just stand at the very edge of the cloud cover and wait.

 <Hearing the words sent to them by thought transmission (leaks), they descended into the cloud corridor. Then they stood at the very edge, looking at the castle, and waited patiently.

 Then, little by little, the cloud foothold stretched out toward the castle, like a bridge.
 Ray and Misa walked slowly over that cloud bridge.

 After a while, they reached the front of the castle.
 Ray stands in front of the door and touches his hand.

'I'll open it,'

Yes, sir.

 I pushed the door open easily.
 Inside, it was dimly lit. Most of the windows were blocked up, and the only light was a small amount of sunlight coming through.

 Ray and Misa walked straight through the castle.

''How did you make it here?''

 The voice of the great tree of Enyeunyen echoed through the castle.

''As a reward for breaking through the spirit ordeal, I will grant you a visit to the Spirit King and give you a shindig.

 A part of the window was opened and sunlight shone in.
 What was illuminated was a throne made of wood.

 A man wearing jet black armor and a mask was sitting there.

 The man slowly opened his hands and clapped his hands as if to praise Rey and the others.
 The Spirit King stood up and walked forward a few steps.

''I would like to pay the Spirit King a visit.''

 Ray speaks out proudly.

''Are you an avenger to the Demon King?''

 The Spirit King did not utter a word, and it was Enyuwen who answered instead.

''If you wish to exchange words with the Spirit King, you will have to challenge him to an ordeal.

 Ray bit his back teeth gingerly and then asked.

''What was the nature of the ... ordeal?''

If you can fight against the Spirit King and break his mask, you've passed the ordeal. However, you are forbidden to use magic swords, holy swords or magical equipment. You can only use your body and your spirit.

 A glittering light gathered, and a dozen swords were stuck in the surrounding area.

''The Spirit King is the one who rules the spirits. All the spirits in Ahartheln are on his side. All the spirits of Ahartheln are on your side. Even if they can only break your mask, this is not something an ordinary person can accomplish. If you declare defeat, your ordeal is over.

Do I get to use that sword in there?

They're all spirits. You can use them. As long as you can handle them.

 Spirits with rumors and lore as swords are not much different from demonic or holy swords, unless they are half-spirit and half-demon like Ray's mother. They can choose their owners, but they do not speak.

 Even in front of the Spirit King, if Ray had it in his hands, he would be able to use it.
 Ray smiles coolly and steps forward.

'I'll take the test.

Very well. So now the trials of the Spirit King have begun.


 Then I suddenly turned my attention to my vision.
 I was in the clouds. The pure white clouds became the floor, the walls, and the ceiling, forming a vast room.

 On the other side of where I had come up, there was a lone demon.
 It's a man with an eye patch that covers half of his face, the Dark Lord Eagles.

''It's a fate, really.''

 Iges says.
 In the next moment, the color of the clouds in the area began to turn black.

 A thunderclap roared, accompanied by countless thunderstorms, and the one who emerged was the Hidden Wolf Gennuru.
 The Hidden Wolf opened its jaws wide and let out a cracked voice.

''--If you want to pass through here, you will be tested by the Hidden Wolf--''

 That's odd.

'Looks like Ray and the others were able to get by on their way?

 Once again, Jennuru's voice cracked.

''--You must be tested, or you will not be able to pass--''

 I see.
 So, the Spirit King's target is Rey or Misa.

 Or both of them?
 Otherwise, it would be unnatural for those two to be the only ones who didn't impose the ordeal.

''What kind of ordeal is the Hidden Wolf's ordeal?''

 Edgess spoke up sharply.

'--Take hold of me. Let only one person, the one who accomplished it first, pass--

 An ordeal in which students compete against each other?
 If it wasn't for the Dark Lord, it would have been easier to pass.

 And then.

 --Demon King Anos--

  I heard a thought transmission.
 It's from Iges.

 He doesn't show any such pretense at all, his one eye is pointed straight at the Hidden Wolf Gennuru.
 <I handed the "thought communication" back to him.

What's up?

"Shall we join together? 'You can go through the door.

Huh. What about you?

"I will rescue my men who are hiding from God and free the others as well. I will free the others as well.

"Hmm. Do you know how to help the people in God's hiding place?

"If you were aware, I would not offer you a fight.

"Hmmm. Sure, that makes sense.

 After a moment's pause, the Dark Lord Yggess sends another thought.

'Let me hear your answer.'

 Grinning, I laughed and opened my mouth.

'All right. We're running out of time. Will you get on with your ordeal, Hidden Wolf Gennuru?