The merchant was muttering to himself with a look of despair plastered on his face.
“……..A curse. What’s with this curse…… However many people it takes, I’ll undo this curse……..”
Shaking all over the merchants backs away before running off.
I laugh softly.
“Fumu. It will be interesting to see how he reacts when he finds out that the curse cannot be lifted.” (Arnos)
“You look like a demon king.” Sasha teases me.
“It looks like you’re the one having fun to me.” (Arnos)
When I pointed this out, she smiled at me.
“I feel refreshed. I don’t like people like that who seem to think money is everything.” (Sasha)
“He’ll never be able to handle money again. Perhaps he’ll turn over a new leaf.” (Arnos)
“You being serious?” (Sasha)
Obviously, Sasha doesn’t think the merchant will change.
“If he doesn’t it’s just a slow death. Some people can’t face themselves unless their lives depend on it. It’s a minuscule chance though. Two thousand years ago, some people went through such experiences and they grew to the point where they were called saints.” (Arnos)
After looking at me in amazement, Sasha shifted her gaze to her sister.
“What do you think Misha?” (Sasha)
Misha thought about it for a while before answering.
“…….Will die……” (Misha)
“If he wants to die a martyr to his beliefs and money then that’s up to him. That’s his way of life.” (Arnos)
Sasha looked speechless.
“I don’t think that way of dying is as cool as you make it sound…….. It’s nothing but a miserable and tragic end.” (Sasha)
“Arnos like.” (Misha)
A voice called out to me and when I turned around the hooded girl from earlier was standing there.
“Thank you. You saved me.” (girl)
She lets out a carefree laugh.
“Huh? No need to thank me. I do have a question for you though.” (Arnos)
The girl looked at me puzzled.
“What is it?” (girl)
“Do you know how to get to the great spirit forest Ahartherun?” (Arnos)
The girl quickly grabbed my hand with both of hers.
“You believe me?” (girl)
Fumu. This is an unexpected reaction.
“I know for a fact that Ahartherun exists so of course I believe you.” (Arnos)
The girl stared at me in amazement.
“By any chance…… Have you been there?” (girl)
The girl latched onto my words.
“Really? When?” (girl)
“The last time would be 2000 years ago now.” (Arnos)
“2000 years ago……..?” (girl)
The girl’s eyes widened even further in surprise.
“Well, you don’t have to believe me. I need to know the rumours to enter Ahartherun. If you know them can you tell me?” (Arnos)
The girl looked down in thought.
“Of course, I’m not asking for free. I’ll give you whatever you desire.” (Arnos)
She looks up and directs a strong gaze at me.
“Then in exchange for telling you how to get there will you take me with you?” (girl)
Hou? That’s an unexpected offer.
“Well, it’s easy enough to take you there but what do you want with Ahartherun?” (Arnos)
She falls silent and her expression seems to sink somehow.
“If you can’t tell me I won’t force you.” (Arnos)
Still looking down the girl opens her mouth.
“…..I don’t know…..” (girl)
“What do you mean?” (Arnos)
She fell silent again before answering.
“……This is going to sound strange but……” (girl)
“I promise I’ll never laugh at you.” (Arnos)
The girl looked back up and met my eyes before smiling.
“You’re a good man.” (girl)
“Is that so?” (Arnos)
The girl nodded and took on a serious expression again.
“I’ve……… lost my memory…..” (Girl)
“Oh? That must be difficult?” (Arnos)
“When I became aware I was already in this city……. I think I had to do something, but I can’t remember……” (girl)
She speaks haltingly.
“While I was walking around this city I heard about the great spirit forest of Ahartherun and I remembered one thing. I had to go there. I don’t know why but I have a feeling that something very important is there.” (girl)
“Do you want to remember?” (Misha)
The girl nodded at Misha’s question.
“I feel like I’ve forgotten something that I shouldn’t have and the clue to that is in Ahartherun.” (girl)
In any case, she doesn’t seem to be malicious and looking at her I don’t see much magic power.
I shouldn’t be too lax but I don’t see any harm in taking her with us either.
“What are you going to do?” (Sasha)
“All right. I’ll take you to Ahartherun.” (Arnos)
“Really! Thank you!” (girl)
While laughing innocently the girl vigorously shook my hand up and down.
“So, how do we get to Ahartherun in this time?” (Arnos)
“I don’t know if this is completely correct but I’ll explain step by step. First off, spirits are creatures born from rumours and traditions and Ahartherun is a spirit itself called the great spirit forest. It’s also where the spirits live.” (girl)
“Hang on a sec.” (Arnos)
I was curious about something so I interrupted her.
“Who told you that spirits are born from rumours and traditions?” (Arnos)
“Eh? That? No one told me. I’ve always known it since I woke up here. That’s part of the reason I’m sure I have a connection to Ahartherun.” (girl)
The mazoku had very little to do with the spirits back then and since the wall came down I’m sure they’ve had even less. I’m sure the modern mazoku have no idea that spirits are born from traditions and rumours.
“Carry on.” (Arnos)
“Ah sure. Ahartherun changes direction from time to time depending on the current rumours so I acted as an information broker and collected all kinds of rumours. One of the most common rumours was that Ahartherun was at the Risharis Grasslands. There was also one that said it was at the Gienus mines. I’m sure it’s one of those two” (girl)
“We know for a fact it’s the Risharis grasslands. Was there a rumour about fog?” (Arnos)
“Yes there is. I think the most common rumour was that a mysterious mist hangs over the Risharis Grasslands while the moon obscures the sun and day turns to night.” (girl)
“Fumu. That sounds very plausible.” (Arnos)
“Errm, hold on.” (Sasha)
Sasha puts a hand on her forehead.
“What do you mean when the moon obscures the sun?” (Sasha)
“Solar eclipse?” (Misha)
“They don’t exactly come around very often, do they. Are you going to wait until then?” (Sasha)
“Oh, I’ve already looked into that. The next eclipse is nine days from now at 12:27 and will last for about 3 minutes.” (Arnos)
The Risharis Grasslands are not far from Deruzogedo. I’m assuming this is also the reason why Nousgalia set the time limit at 10 days.
“I see. In that case, we can wait and try it.” (Sasha)
“Can you make a fairy laugh in 3 minutes?” (Misha)
“That’s the real problem isn’t it. What would make them laugh?” (Sasha)
Sasha looked at the girl while talking.
“You mean making the mischievous spirits laugh? I think the fairy is a spirit called Titi, and it’s rumoured that they like new things, so if you show them something novel or innovative, they’ll laugh.” (girl)
“Even if you say innovative…..” (Sasha)
Then the question is what would be a novelty to the fairy Titi?
“Well, we can but try. Let’s go. Misha let Ray and the others know we’re going.” (Arnos)
I hold out my hands to the girls.
“Let’s go……. You heard what I said right? The next eclipse is in nine days. There’s nothing you can do if you go now.” (Sasha)
“No problem.” (Arnos)
“No problem you say…….” (Sasha)
I turn my hand over so my palm is facing up and form a multi-layered magic formation with about a hundred formations and dip my fingertips into it.
“All Of Creation <I Guneas>” (Arnos)
My right hand is covered in a pale glow.
It’s a magic that transcends distances and holds everything within its grasp.
Using <I Guneas> I grasp the sky tightly and slowly move my arm.
“….. It’s a lie…… right……?” (Sasha)
Sasha gasped at the sight before her.
A part of the sun was missing.
“……Moon is moving……..” (Misha)
Misha stared at the moon in the sky.
Using her demon eyes she must have seen that my hand was grasping the moon.
“Fumu. As you’d expect it’s pretty heavy.” (Arnos)
I put magic power in my feet, sink my weight more firmly into the earth and slowly move my arm bit by bit until the moon is blocking the sun.
The people passing by were all looking up at the sky, wondering what was going on.
Day had turned into night.
“Do you understand now?” (Arnos)
I offer my hand to Sasha again, who is still looking up at the sky in a daze.
“A single star will move before I do. Let’s go.” (Arnos)