Arc 1: Prologue

It was night time, and the moon hovered high in the sky, shining down its beauty onto the surface of the world. The creatures of the wild made minimal sounds as they scurried around in the dark, minding their own business. It was a peaceful climate, as the wind blew blissfully around, indicating the joy of Mother Nature. However, that could not be said for a certain woman inside a certain house as she was going through her first labour.

The woman was moaning painfully, with her face twisting and contorting as an expression of the pain she felt. She was lying on top of a comfortable bed, but even that comfort was lost on her as her pain was much too unbearable. Because to this, all she could do was cry in pain and thrash around helplessly as if her stomach was going to burst.

A man stood next to her bed, a petrified expression could be seen on his face by watching her cry and thrash around. He was her husband, who was also the man of the family. However, he felt very useless as he had to watch by while his wife was going through a lot of pain. His mouth was dry, and he felt he lost his ability to speak because of all the tension. Still, he grabbed her flailing hand and held it tightly with his firm grip, trying to reassure her that he was there for her and everything will be fine.

Next to him stood a woman dressed in a maid outfit, obviously she was the family servant. She wore spectacles that were perched on her nose, and she was observing the woman going through a lot of pain with narrowed eyes. When she witnessed her master grabbing her mistress’s hand firmly, she smiled a little at the affection he had for his wife.

“Master, please calm down,” the maid had said to him in a reassuring voice. When he merely nodded, she felt worried and added, “The mistress is not in any kind of danger. This is purely a natural occurrence of a mother giving birth.”

“I know,” he said, managing to respond to her, but he continued to look concernedly at his wife, “but… but she’s… she’s in so much… pain…!”

Their maid gave him a sympathetic look and stated, “Ever women goes through that when it is time to give birth to their child, master. But, please feel reassured that I am taking good care of mistress, and everything will soon be over,” and she walked over to the other side of the bed to sit down next to the writhing mother.

“Madam,” the maid said slowly, placing a hand on the woman’s forehead to calm her a little, “I know it is tough, but try to relax. You’re moving too much.”

The mother was unable to follow her statement because of the pain distracting her, but she still tried to follow the maid’s advice. She tried to control her movement, but the pain seared through her determination and made her cry out in pain. Her husband watched helplessly, his face becoming distressed with worry and fear for the safety of his wife.

A tense moment later, the baby was finally born, and the mother heaved a very deep sigh in relief as the maid lifted the baby gently in her arms. It was a boy, with a really cute face with small round eyes that matched the eyes of his mother. At that moment, he had screwed up his face and was crying earnestly while the maid was gently speaking soothing words so that he would stop and relax.

It took several seconds for the baby to finally calm down and stop crying. The maid smiled serenely down at the boy before being beckoned by the mother, and gently laying the baby down next to his mother, who turned slightly to look at her newly born son and sighed contentedly.

As the maid withdrew, the father walked around the bed to reach the other side and sat down gently on the bed to look at his newly born baby. He looked at his son with a look of wonderment on his face.

“He’s so cute!” He exclaimed happily, a big grin forming on his face. “He’s certainly bald, but, well, I guess most babies are born that way.”

His wife chuckled tiredly while gazing affectionately at her son, who was quiet now and sleeping peacefully.

After a while, she commented, “I think… he looks like you.”

“How?” The father asked, scrutinising his son’s face. “I feel as though he bears a lot of your features.”

“Maybe we can tell the difference if you also shave your hair and put you next to him,” his wife suggested with a small smile.

He looked at her in alarm and said, “No way in hell am I getting a shave! Besides, I’d look atrocious without my lovely spiky hair.”

“It’ll grow back in a month or two,” his wife commented with a grin.

“That’s not the problem!” His husband complained loudly, looking indignantly at her.

Just then, his son suddenly woke up and began crying again as he was woken up with a start by his father’s shout.

“W-Wow!” The father exclaimed, looking alarmed by his son’s wailing and looked nervously at his wife.

“Look at what you did!” She complained, looking crossly at him.

As he looked dejected by her scolding him, she moved her hand slowly and placed it gently on her son’s body while whispering gently into his ear. The soft touch of his mother’s hand on his skin, as well as her soft whispering in his ears, worked and calmed him down before he gradually fell into sleep again.

“You see that?” The mother asked, turning to look at her husband with a proud look on her face. “He loves his mother more than his father.”

“Very funny!” Her husband said, said irritably and turned away while crossing his arms in front of his body.

The wife chuckled and turned back to her child, gently stroking his bald head softly. The maid stood by and watched this affectionate scene unfold, making her show them a smile filled with happiness.

***

Several days had gone by since the mother gave birth to the child, and health condition of both the mother and the child stabilised. She was now able to leave the bed and began moving around the house normally, however, she moved slowly because of the pain that still lingered in her belly. Due of this, she walked about an hour and spent the remainder of her time lying on the bed, leaving all of cooking and house chores to their family maid.

On one day, both she and her husband were in their bedroom with their son sleeping peacefully in her arms. They were quietly conversing with one another on the topic of making plans for his future as well as thinking of various names that they should give their son.

“I want to start training him with the sword once he reaches seven,” the husband said firmly.

“The sword?” His wife asked, looking worriedly at him. “Not magic?”

Her husband looked at her and said flatly, “You know my distaste for magic, right? It’s slow, weak, and pointless. A quick dash could easily defeat a mage in the middle of their chant, and you’d be dead without being able to do anything to defend yourself. I don’t like the thought of him having to face such a situation.”

“You’re right,” she agreed as it made sense, “but we have many friends in our circle that are strong and are very good at magic.”

“Maybe,” he said, accepting her statement, “but keep in mind that they are not completely humans. We’re regular humans with nothing great about us that’ll make us qualify to compete with other races who’ve evolved while we remained unchanged.”

His wife sighed and said, “You’re going about this with a single-minded perspective based on your experience alone.”

“Lakshmi,” he called his wife by her name with a stern look on his face. “You are an Advanced Ranked Magician who is good at using Advanced Healing Magic, Intermediate Fire Magic, and Intermediate Light Magic. Whereas, I am a failure, and even my friend told me that I am incapable of using magic even if I did learn the theory. I… I don’t want my son to face that kind of disappointment, believing that you can learn magic only to have your dreams crushed. That’s why, I don’t want him to experience the same pain as I did.”

His statement was met with silence from his wife, who could not think of anything to reply with. She knew her husband was deeply hurt over the fact that he could not fulfil his dream of using magic and was using that as a basis to not teach her son magic. For the moment, she decided to drop the subject as she felt they would go nowhere with it and bring it up a few years later.

“Okay, Indra,” she said, calling her husband by his name and smiling up at him. “You made your point, and I understand. However, isn’t sword training at the age of seven a little bit early?”

“Come on, Lakshmi. All boys start their training at the age of seven, which is when they are most active and it’s also the perfect condition to kick start their muscles into development,” said the husband with a bright smile on his face, glad that she gave up on persuading him.

His wife eyed him wearily and said, “You’re only concerned about your son having muscles than real training, you muscle brained idiot.”

“Hey!” Her husband said, looking shocked. “It’s rude to call your husband an idiot!”

She smiled and turned to her sleeping child, gently saying, “See that? Your father is an idiot because all he cares about are muscles.”

“Stop creating a misunderstanding!” He retorted, looking flabbergasted by her statement. “Muscles develop while you’re training and skills improve and you improve as a warrior! That’s all there is to it! Don’t make it sound all weird.”

“Okay. Okay,” she said, chuckling with laughter at the sight of her husband looking shaken

He coughed and breathed a sigh before saying, “Anyway, once he becomes good with the sword and comes of age, I plan on gifting that to him,” and he looked to the side towards the sword that hung on the wall

Lakshmi glanced at it and asked, “The sword Felix gave you as a gift?”

Indra nodded and replied, “Yes. Felix thought it might work for me as it didn’t work for him, but it remained like that. Maybe, by gifting it to my son, it could probably show its true potential like Felix had said.”

She looked at him wearily and asked, “Are you sure the story about the Phoenix Blade is really true? Because, from the historical texts that I read, the Phoenix Blade disappeared 8,000-years-ago at the end of the war along with the Phoenix Titan who played a major role in stopping it. Are you absolutely sure that aged sword is really the Phoenix Blade?”

Her husband eyed her sternly and said, “Yes! If Felix said it, then it must be true! He’s the Phoenix Emperor after all!”

“If you say so,” she responded weakly, giving up the argument as she found no use in pushing it any further.

Indra nodded and smiled brightly as he said, “Yes. Felix is one of the strongest beings in world right now, and it’s no wonder since he comes from the Phoenix Clan.” Then he looked down at his son and said, “Problem is, my son needs a name that’s really strong and suitable for him.”

“How about Vijay?” She suggested hopefully. “It means victorious, right?”

He shook his head in rejection and said, “No. It’s too simple and common. We need a special name, something like Dharma, a man of justice. What do you think?”

His wife raised an eyebrow with a strange look on her face and commented, “That’s too aggressive.”

“That’s the thing! Men should be aggressive!”

His wife looked at him severely and said, “If you mean for him to go through the same hardships like the two of us, then I refuse to give him that name!”

Indra looked surprised and raised his hands up in defeat, saying repeatedly, “Alright. Alright.”

He placed a hand on his chin in a thinking gesture, contemplating about other names that they could give their son. As such, silence fell in the room for several seconds before Lakshmi was the first to break it with her suggestion.

“How about Raghava?” She suggested hopefully.

Her husband nodded at that name and said, “Yeah. That sounds good. In fact, we could just go with naming him Veera Raghava Chand! A fearless warrior that will become well known in the future! You know, something he could be proud of in the future just in case he becomes famous.”

“Um,” his wife began hesitantly, looking doubtful, “I don’t think I want to name my son that.” When her husband looked at her in shock, she elaborated, “Well, you see, that name sounds like a name belonging to a rough and dangerous person. I don’t want my son to grow up to become feared by others, I want him to grow up and be respected for what he is.”

“Basically, you want him to have a name that will bring him fortune, grace, and any luck that we didn’t have?” Indra asked her, and she nodded with a smile. He sighed and thought for a moment before supplying, “In that case, why don’t we name him… Lakshman.”

“Lakshman?” She asked, looking curious. “Any reason?”

“Well, for one thing it literally means Lucky!” He explained gleefully, “and another because it goes so well with your name. Think about it. Lakshman. Lakshmi. Lakshmi. Lakshman. See what I did there?”

She looked at him with a bemused expression on her face before she asked, “Who’s the one that said I was simple when I suggested Vijay earlier?”

“T-That was too simple,” said Indra in defence, looking disgruntled, “and Lakshman fits our son better since that’s the criteria we’re going for. It is, isn’t it?” He asked her finally as a challenge. When she nodded, he nodded back firmly and said, “So, there you have it! Lakshman fits our requirements nicely!”

His wife saw his expression and it made her laugh before she extended her hand out to touch his cheek with a warm expression on her face.

“I like it,” she said simply with a beautiful smile on her face. As he smiled warmly back at her, she turned her attention towards her sleeping son and said softly, “Lakshman. It has a good ring to it.”

As if in response, their child stirred briefly from his sleep before shifting a little and going back to sleep. This made his parents look at each other in surprise before chuckling lightly so that he could not hear them and needlessly get disturbed from his sleep. And so, they decided to name their son Lakshman, who slept blissfully, completely unaware of the name he had received, nor the brilliant future that awaited him.

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