After the Great Tree of Enyunien was born, Reno gave us a tour inside his body.
It was already equipped with what it would have in the Magical Age, including the classroom, the Staircases of Guniel, and the cloud corridors.
The small castle at the top of this great tree seemed to serve as Reno’s residence. This was where we would find the Spirit King 2,000 years later, so this castle was probably the residence of whoever governed Aharthern.
After we returned to the classroom lined up with stumps, she spoke to us.
“Well, I guess we’ve seen most of it for now. It’s spacious here, so there are still many other rooms, but you can try asking Eniyunien about them. Just so you know, he keeps his magic eyes active to make sure there’s no violence inside the great tree, so even if a divine beast attacks, you’ll have nothing to worry about.” (Reno)
So the Great Tree of Enyunien is a spirit born in preparation for an attack from the gods?
“The Great Spirit Reno can give birth to any spirit at will, huh.” (Anos)
When I said that, Reno squatted down so she could make eye contact with me.
“It’s not like I can do it at will. Sure, as you saw earlier, my tears can turn rumors and legends into spirits. But it’s only the spirits that I wish to give birth to from the bottom of my heart that will be born. Sometimes, spirits are born different from how I imagined them, and at other times, I give birth to them unconsciously.” (Reno)
“Hmm? But if spirits can be born when you deeply wish for them, can’t you give birth to them at will?” Eleanor asked curiously.
“Ahh, well yes. That’s half-right, and half-wrong. Because my wishes are made up of the rumors and legends spread by everyone. And as the Great Mother of all spirits, I give birth to spirits that suit those rumors.” (Reno)
So even her own desires are influenced by rumors and legends, huh.
Living as a spirit is pretty inconvenient, I see.
“Besides, spirits are more often born spontaneously than from my tears. I’m sure that’s how Lena was born as well.” (Reno)
She made a good point. If all spirits could only be born from the tears of the Great Spirit Reno, then we would have to wonder how Reno herself was born. It’s not like she was the oldest spirit alive, either.
Perhaps it was reasonable to assume that the Love Fairy Fran was born naturally after Reno’s death.
I would ask her for more details, but Lena was nearby right now. Reno said she would disappear if she realized she was the love fairy.
So I had no choice but to wait for another opportunity.
“Anosh, will you and your friends be staying in Aharthern for a while?” (Reno)
“We’d like to be under your care, if possible.” (Anosh)
“Sure, that’s fine. I discussed it with Shin earlier, but you don’t seem like particularly suspicious demons. And traveling entertainers don’t come here very often, so everybody will be overjoyed. Feel free to use whatever you want here.” (Reno)
“We’re in your debt.” (Anos)
After saying that, Reno walked away.
“Shin, come with me.” (Reno)
Shin followed Reno without saying a word.
“Now then.” (Anos)
I stood up from my stump.
“Lay, Misha. Keep an eye on the two of them.” (Anos)
“Nh.” Misha acquiesced.
“What about you?” (Lay)
“I’m just going to check on a few things. The rest of you can do as you please for the time being.” (Anos)
I opened the classroom door and walked out.
Then, I heard footsteps coming from behind me.
It was Zeshia.
“You want to come along?” (Anos)
“…As your…bodyguard…” (Zeshia)
Zeshia stood right next to me, as if to protect me.
Why? Did Shin have an impact on her?
“It looks like now that you’re so small, Anosh, she thinks of herself as your older sister.” Eleonore declared while walking up to us.
“Hmm. It’s true that I’ve become shorter, but not so much that I need Zeshia to protect me.” (Anos)
“Zeshia… will be… your big sister…!” (Zeshia)
I had a feeling Zeshia’s expression was shining brighter than ever.
“*Giggle* Looks like she’s in high spirits because she’s not the shortest of us for once.” (Eleonore)
“…Anosh… Zeshia will look after you… Be at ease…” (Zeshia)
Zeshia patted my head.
Good grief. Can’t help it, then.
She was asserting her emotions more than ever. I couldn’t disregard that.
“I’ll be counting on you.” (Anos)
“Leave it… to me!” (Zeshia)
Eleonore, Zeshia and I proceeded through the Great Tree of Enyunien.
We followed the same directions Lena gave us two thousand years later, and passed the same places several times.
As we turned right at the three-way junction, we found a statue in the passageway.
It was the humanoid frog in armor. In our time period, it would’ve been holding a shield sliced in half, but right now, it wasn’t holding anything in its hands.
Without paying any attention to it, we went ahead and opened a certain door.
It led to a small room. There was nothing in there. I turned around and immediately reopened the door.
What we found behind it was a vast forest.
It was the “Forest of Books,” where the Book Fairies Leelan resided.
I briefly glanced at the green books that were growing in the trees.
“Hmm. I’d say there’s about a hundred of them.” (Anos)
“…Need to find…something?” (Zeshia)
“I thought it’d be here, but apparently not.” (Anos)
“…It’s…not here…?” (Zeshia)
Zeshia casted her eyes down, looking dejected.
“Well, we can still look around, just in case. Can you find me the green book that has the Love Fairy Fran in it?” (Anos)
Zeshia nodded happily.
“…I’ll do… my best…!” (Zeshia)f𝔯𝗲e𝒘𝙚𝚋𝐧oѵe𝗹． 𝒄𝗼m
Zeshia dashed through the forest and started collecting the green books.
“If there are only about a hundred books, does this mean that the Leelan aren’t born yet?” Eleonore asked curiously.
“In all likelihood. I thought I could find the book still intact in this era.” (Anos)
After I said that, a hoarse voice echoed throughout the Forest of Books.
“I apologize. I’m not quite ready for your education yet. In due time, the Book Fairies Leelan and everything else should be ready. Then class may begin.” (Enyunien)
It was Enyunien’s voice.
If everything was going to be ready later, then maybe we should investigate the Love Fairy Fran only then.
“Zeshia, how’s the search coming along?” (Anos)
“…I haven’t… found it yet…” (Zeshia)
Zeshia had a dozen or so books piled up on the top of her head, and was playing tag with the Book Fairies Leelan. She did so with impeccable balance, without actually dropping any book.
“I’ve got business to attend to in a different place. What would you like to do?” (Anos)
Zeshia looked at me and the Leelan alternatively, as if she couldn’t decide.
I had a feeling she still wanted to collect the books.
“In that case, I’m putting you in charge of collecting the Leelan. This is a top secret mission. Don’t tell anyone.” (Anos)
“…Very well…Sir…” (Zeshia)
She knelt in a lovely manner, as if imitating someone.
Looks like she was all up for it.
And so, I let Zeshia take care of everything here.
“I’ll take a look around here as well, so don’t worry.” Eleonore said while raising her index finger.
“Let me know if anything happens.” (Anos)
I left the Forest of Books, and contacted Misha via .
“Are you guys with Shin and Reno?” (Anos)
『Yes. We’ve crossed over the invisible stairs at the end of the Staircase of Guniel, and are on the other side of the invisible door.』(Misha)
Over there, huh. I proceeded to walk through the Great Tree once again.
After climbing the Staircase of Guniel, which would be used for the Spirit Trials two thousand years later, I proceeded up the invisible staircase and opened the invisible door.
What I found on the other side was a wasteland.
Two thousand years later, flowers would be blooming all over this land, but right now, there wasn’t even a single blade of grass.
“Okay, Shin. Guess what these are.” (Reno)
When Reno opened her arms, five flowers were floating in the air. Just like her hair, they were as bright blue as a lake.
“I do not know.” (Shin)
“These are called tear flowers, and they’re the ones that absorbed my tear. You remember how earlier, there was a flower that gave birth to the Great Tree of Enyunien, right? Well, these are the flowers that were born from the remnants of that same tear.” (Reno)
“Does this mean that they will give birth to new spirits?” (Shin)
“They may, or they may not. If the tear flowers bear fruit without withering, they will turn rumors and legends into spirits. If they wither, then my tears will disappear along with them.” (Reno)
In the center of the flower garden, Reno gently lowered the flowers with her magic power.
In an instant, the flowers took root in the earth.
“You have to pour love into the tear flowers so they don’t wither. Like this.” (Reno)
A small ball of water appeared in Reno’s palm.
Like watering a flower, she used the water ball to sprinkle them.
Upon doing so, the tear flowers grew quickly and gained large petals.
In the blink of an eye, new buds sprouted from the ground, and the number of tear flowers increased.
In no time flat, half of the wasteland had been turned into a flower garden.
“I guess this is about as far as it will extend. You should give it a try too, Shin.” Reno said with a pleasant smile.
Shin turned to her with a sour look on his face.
“Yup. Now let’s see…” (Reno)
Reno drew a magic circle and put her hand inside it.
What she took out of it was an iron watering can.
“Here. I bought it on our way back.” (Reno)
“…Why would you…want me to…?” (Shin)
“Well you see, I think you should be a little more in touch with living beings, and with life. Once you do, I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself.” (Reno)
Shin gently pulled out the iron sword at his waist and gazed down on its blade as he said the following.
“If we’re talking about the amount of times I’ve touched the lives of living beings, then there are countless of them.” (Shin)
“That’s not what I meant…!” (Reno)
Reno yelled at him, but Shin was being serious.
“I’m afraid I fail to understand what you mean, My Lady.” (Shin)
Shin sheathed his sword back.
“You’ll understand if you give it a try. Come on, do it.” (Reno)
Reno forcefully shoved the watering can into Shin’s arms.
Then she used magic to fill it with water.
Reno smiled cheerfully.
“Very well, then.” (Shin)
Overcome by the smile of the Great Mother of All Spirits, Shin used the watering can to sprinkle the flowers all around him.
When he did, the flowers began to wither at an alarming rate.
“Wait, wait! Don’t do that, Shin! What you need to nurture tear flowers is love. Love is the key. If you water them with such violence in your heart, they’ll wither in the blink of an eye.” (Reno)
“Whatever should I do?” (Shin)
“Smile. First, you need to smile. It’s a sign of affection.” (Reno)
Shin showed a smile that could only be described as emotionless.
“Like so?” (Shin)
The flowers withered even faster than before.
“Geez…! Like I said, you need to show love. Love, I tell you. Take this more seriously.” (Reno)
“I do not know anything about love.” (Shin)
“Ahh, you shouldn’t be so stubborn. I mean, Shin, don’t you love the Demon King Anos?” (Reno)
Shin stared at her in wonder, as if surprised.
“That’s what we call love. So just water the flowers while thinking of your love for the Demon King.” (Reno)
Reno drew closer to him with an innocent look on her face.
“Even simply harboring feelings of affection toward My Lord would be disrespectful to him. I served him not out of love, but out of gratitude. I was nothing more than a blade, and His Majesty himself saved me. He’s my one and only ally.” (Shin)
“What do you mean?” (Reno)
“Please do not pay it any mind. It’s an irrelevant story.” (Shin)
Reno glared at Shin in dissatisfaction.
At that moment, I could hear some giggles.
“Reno and” (Titi A)
“Mr. Swordsman” (Titi B)
“are such” (Titi C)
“good buddies.” (Titi D)
It was the Titi fairies who appeared.
“How nice.” (Titi A)
“I’m so jealous.” (Titi B)
“I wanna play.” (Titi C)
“Titi wants to play with him too.” (Titi D)
The fairies went to fly around Shin, and they all spoke up.
“I wanna play; I wanna play!” (Titi A)
“Hey, wanna play?” (Titi B)
“Mr. Swordsman!” (Titi C)
“Let’s play!” (Titi D)
Shin glanced at the girls, looking slightly perplexed.
Reno burst out laughing.
“They’ve grown attached to you since you saved them earlier. Why not play with them?” (Reno)
“I do not know anything about games.” Shin said as he turned on his heel.
“Then, how about we play tag?” (Titi A)
“Let’s play tag!” (Titi B)
“Spirit tag!” (Titi C)
“You‘ll be it, Mr. Swordsman!” (Titi D)
The Titi flew around while making a fuss.
“Come out, everyone!” (Titi A)
“Gennul!” (Titi B)
“Gigadeas!” (Titi C)
“Cenetello!” (Titi D)
The spirits gathered in the flower garden.
They were all staring at Shin, wanting to play with him, as if trying to repay him for saving their lives.
“Do you guys want to play too, Anosh?” Reno asked.
“No thanks, we’ll pass. We’re still tired from our long trip.” (Anos)
“Okay. Then we’ll be playing with all the spirits. Everyone! Shin said that if you can escape from him for a minute, he’ll do whatever you say!” (Reno)
As soon as Reno said that, all the spirits ran away at once.
“I will have to decline as well.” (Shin)
Shin turned away and was about to leave.
At that moment, Reno made a mischievous face.
“Well, well. So the Demon King’s right-hand man isn’t confident he can catch us, I see.” (Reno)
Shin stopped right in his tracks.
“I cannot ignore that remark.” Shin said as he turned back.
His gaze was still.
“Let’s do it, then. Are you ready?” (Reno)
His entire body was exuding killing intent.
I wasn’t even sure he really knew how to play tag.
“You’ve got one minute, okay? Now let’s go! Run, everyone!” (Reno)
“Forgive me for this, but…” (Shin)
As soon as Shin said that, he disappeared.
“Kyuuh!” (Titi A)
A Titi trembled a bit, as if she had been hit by something.
One after another, the other fairies reacted the same way.
“I’ve been tagged!” (Titi B)
“He’s so fast!” (Titi C)
“You’re so fast, Mr. Swordsman!” (Titi D)
The Titi laughed and cackled, like they were enjoying the game.
In no time, both Gigadeas and the Cenetello were also tagged by Shin, who was running at blinding speed.
“It would not be a proper game of tag if I did not settle it in at least ten seconds.” (Shin)
Shin came to a halt and closed his eyes.
Probably to catch Gennul. The invisible spirit of vanishment was running through the flower garden. However, Shin easily caught him just by sensing his presence.
“I must say, you are quite fast on your paws.” (Shin)
Shin put his hand on Gennul’s head.
The latter wagged his tail, like a dog receiving affection from its master.
“However, if it were My Lord, he would have surely caught all of you in less than half my time.” (Shin)
“Keep stroking him.” Reno said.
Shin turned his head toward her, with his eyes still closed.
“There’s hardly anyone who can run around with Gennul, after all.” (Reno)
Indeed, there was hardly anyone who could run around with Gennul, who couldn’t appear to you unless you closed your eyes.
“Like so?” (Shin)
Shin stroked his head.
The giant wolf sat down on the spot, as docile as a cat.
“You’re like a spirit, Shin.” (Reno)
“Whatever do you mean?” (Shin)
“A sword-wielding spirit who has forgotten how to love. That’s the impression I get.” (Reno)
Shin remained silent, without showing any interest.
“Say, Shin. Have you ever lost at a game of tag?” (Reno)
“I haven’t played it much before, but I have never let a single bandit escape me.” (Shin)
“Then I guess you lose for the first time today.” (Reno)
Shin turned a questioning look at her.
“Because this is a game of tag with all the spirits. Including myself.” (Reno)
One minute had already passed.
You could say that Reno won this game.
“I guess I cheated a bit, but a win is a win. Ah, of course, I do realize how incredible the Demon King’s right-hand man is, though.” Reno said, as if knowing how to handle Shin.
“I have no excuse for this.” (Shin)
“Now then, what shall I have you do for me?” (Reno)
At that moment, a hoarse voice echoed throughout the garden.
“――Reno, a visitor has appeared. It seems he wants to see you and Shin――” (Enyunien)
Reno immediately had a serious look on her face.
If the guy was a visitor, then he couldn’t be a spirit.
“He calls himself the Conflagration King Eldmed, and apparently, he has something to tell you about the gods.” (Enyunien)