Time to Go
It was more than a week later that Lakshman finally woke up. When he first opened his eyes and looked around, he was startled to find himself in his room. He began to panic as he last remembered being beaten into a pulp by the attackers before being knocked out.
At that moment, Darian, Rumble, Marilia, Ondine and Tetra entered the room. Seeing familiar faces, he immediately began demanding answers. He only became quiet after Ondine knocked on his head with her hand.
Calmly they told him what happened afterwards. They told him that all the attackers have been arrested and their leader had been sent to a high security prison. He understood that to mean the magician was prisoned and shuddered at the thought of what that prison was like the last time he went with them.
Afterwards, the city began to be repaired as quickly as possible. Most people did not have homes to live in at the moment which annoyed them greatly. They were very unhappy with the officers of the capital, but they repeatedly said they tried their best to stop the attackers from getting into the city.
“Seems like the officers totally underestimated them,” Lakshman said and they quietly agreed.
“Yes, but forget that! Do you know what these two did a few days ago, master?!” Ondine said as he angrily gestured at Darian and Rumble.
“W-What did they do?” he asked her uncertainly and was surprised to see her fiercely glare at them.
Darian and Rumble were smiling as they looked at each other. That was when Ondine told Lakshman about those two meeting with the leader of the attackers. After hearing the brutal treatment and the life threatening warning they received, they seemed unfazed.
“They don’t even fear they’ll die because of that arrogance!” Ondine said angrily.
“Come now, Ondine. There’s no need to act all humble in front of those lousy fools who think they are greater than the rest of us!” Rumble said cheerfully.
“Says the guy who made the first attack on him!”
“I… I just couldn’t take the rubbish about his God of Destruction stuff. Those religious views are really too complicated. Besides, any god that wants to destroy is no god to me!” Rumble said firmly.
Ondine raised her eyebrows at him and said “You know you’re talking about one of the mythological gods!”
“So? I will always stand by my words, even if they are right in front of me!” Rumble said and he folded his arms, looking confident.
Ondine slowly shook her head and sighed as she placed a hand on her forehead. Lakshman watched the proceedings as if it was something funny and laughed lightly. Then something came to mind and he decided to ask them about it.
“So how did you guys defeat them? I thought you were paralysed and couldn’t do a thing,” Lakshman asked they finished telling him everything that happened while he slept.
For a moment, there was silence. Everyone avoided his eye contact and just looked at each other. That was when Darian told Lakshman that he was the one who defeated them.
Lakshman thought it was a bad joke and laughed half-heatedly, but he realised it must be true from the serious expression on his face. Darian then explained what happened afterwards which blew Lakshman’s mind as he could not believe the details.
“Fighting Frenzy? Blazing Fists? Restoration?! What?!” Lakshman exclaimed in disbelief.
Then he was told about how the Power of the Phoenix affected him and made him do those things. That was when he suddenly recalled vague memory of the battle. Still, he could not believe he was capable of using such high level techniques and he asked them about it.
“Even so, how did I use those techniques? Isn’t Fighting Frenzy a King rang fighting technique, Blazing Fists a Sage rank fighting technique and Restoration an Emperor ranked magic spell?”
“Master, the Phoenix Power compensated for the remaining energy you could not provide to use those techniques. So, in essence, you were the fighter, but was just pushed to fight using the combined energies,” Tetra told him calmly.
“Wow…! All that makes my head hurt,” Lakshman muttered and he placed a hand on his forehead.
Everyone laughed and Marilia changed the subject to their departure for Floria region.
“So when will we set off on our journey?” she asked them.
“Soon. Very soon. I think we need an extra three days of things to do before we can leave,” Darian said and he checked the pile of papers in front of him.
“More like, we got some official business with the king to talk about. Once that is over with, we can depart,” Rumble told them and he suddenly looked tired.
“Why would it take three days? Is the king that slow?” Lakshman asked curiously.
“Not exactly slow, but indecisive. For the past few years, he had been busily trying to protect his crown from his rivals. Because of that, he neglected a few things the people need. That’s what we’re going there later today,” Darian explained.
“Oh, cool! Can I also come?” Lakshman said excitedly.
“Uh… It’s not a fun place to be, Lakshman,” Rumble said and he looked hesitant.
Marilia, on the other hand, seemed to think differently as she said “I think Lakshman should go. He’s growing up and will leave the nest of protection. If he’s going to live on his own, he must understand the life of the politics and how it will affect the commoners.”
“I guess that’s true,” Darian said and sighed as he understood her point.
Later in the evening, they went to the large castle located near the court of law. Lakshman was awestruck when he looked at the building. It was a magnificent castle with stone foundations and white paint covering everything else.
Once they were inside, the castle just seemed that much bigger. While they waited, Lakshman had his mouth open in awe as he spun on the spot to look around. Each section of it was magnificently built and there were carvings of faces of recognised people throughout history.
When they were allowed to enter, they were met with large doors which swung into the audience room. It was a large room with chairs lined up on either side. Seated in those seats were the leaders of different departments. Lakshman looked at them and then ahead where he steps going up to a high chair and, seated on it, was the king of Radfox.
The king was a thin looking man with black beard and moustache. He was wearing a crown with expensive jewels embed in different sections so that it sparkled from the light.
The king greeted them curtly and told them to quickly get to business since they are very busy. Darian and the members in the audience room talked for some time while Rumble stood behind. He wore a bored expression as he observed the proceedings, but Lakshman was intrigued. He had never known the complexities of politics and commanding general public with their power of authority.
Once their matter was over, the king looked at Lakshman and recognised him as the man that defeated the attackers. He called him forward and rose to his feet. With a click of a finger, an attendant instantly appeared out of thin air.
The king spoke to the attendant for a moment before the attendant disappeared. A moment later, the attendant returned and was carrying a sack which rattled with clinking sounds. In front of everyone, he announced that, for the bravery and courage Lakshman had shown, he will reward him five-thousand gold coins.
The whole place went up in an uproar. Everyone was shocked by the king’s decision and they were voicing their disapproval. He ignored them and firmly stated how the capital was still here because of his efforts. As such rewarding Lakshman five-thousand gold coins was only appropriate.
Lakshman moved forward and took the sack of gold from the king with shaking hands. Then the king shook his hand and thanked him for his efforts. Lakshman mumbled his appreciation and quietly left with Darian and Rumble.
Once outside, Rumble exclaimed “Five-thousand?! Blasted nuggets!”
“Calm down, Rumble,” Darian said, but he was also looking very surprised.
“Um… Is five-thousand gold coins a bad thing?” Lakshman asked curiously.
“Bad thing?! You have no idea, do you?” Rumble asked in a voice of disbelief.
“Lakshman, listen. With five-thousand gold coins, you can live a whole year without working or earning gold!” Darian said in a low voice to as to make sure no one heard him.
“R-Really?” Lakshman said in amazement and Darian nodded.
Amazed at his reward, they went home that day. They came back two more times during the next two days and Lakshman got to meet several important people. They were basically discussing the cost of repairing the damage and extra cost for reopening shops and goods.
During their meetings, Lakshman met the king’s son and daughter. The son was three years older than Lakshman while the daughter was the same age as Lakshman. The brother would spend his time reading or studying while his sister played with Lakshman in their large garden.
After three days, they made their schedules to leave for Floria region. They closed their training centre and informed everyone where they were headed. People were alarmed to hear their destination name and told them to be careful. Darian said they will be while Rumble just laughed it off.
When the king’s daughter heard that her new friend is going to leave, she began to cry unhappily. Lakshman stop her crying by promising they will meet.
“You promise?” she said while snivelling and wiping her tears away.
“Yes. I promise we’ll meet each other again, okay?” Lakshman said firmly.
That was when he learnt her name which was Shalany Jagabadasen and he told her his name. The two of them had no idea what fate had in mind for the two of them.
With that promise, the day arrived for their departure. Darian, Rumble, Marilia, Lakshman, Ondine and Tetra were riding on a horse drawn carriage. After seeing everyone off, they were making their way towards the other exit of the city. During this time, only Darian and Rumble were sitting at the front while everyone else were asleep inside.
When they neared the exit, the two of them noticed a bunch of people barring their way. They stopped the carriage and jumped down as the people moved towards them. Darian and Rumble recognised many of those as the ones that constantly tried to attack them at the training centre.
Both sides stopped a few meters away and stared at each other. Darian and Rumble were ready to beat them down again, but suddenly the standoff was broken from the other side.
“We’re really sorry! We tried to harm you, but we now see that we were wrong! Please forgive our actions!”
The group of men said loudly and they all bowed their heads down to them.
Darian and Rumble were taken aback by their sudden change in attitude towards them. Then they realised these were the few that were let out early due to their clean record. With that, they told the men to raise their heads.
The men raised their heads and suddenly stood at attention. The man in front, who turned out to be Vika, said “Boss, tell us to do anything! We’re yours to command!”
Rumble moved forward and placed a hand on their Vika’s shoulder and said “Don’t worry about it. I didn’t beat you guys because I wanted to. I did it hoping you will change. Now that you understand and change, I’m okay with it.”
“Y-Yes!” the men said with a happy smile. Then he looked at his group and asked “Isn’t that right, boys?!”
“Yes, sir!” they shouted in unison.
Rumble laughed while Darian nodded at them as he grinned at them. Then they told the men where they are going and what they will do once they reach there.
“Good luck, boss!”
“We’ll be here to protect the city if anything happens!”
“Leave it to us, sir!”
Each of them was saying something different, but it meant the same thing to Darian and Rumble. The two of them looked at each other for a moment. Then they grinned as they both saw the sincerity within those people.
“Alright then! I’ll leave it to you guys to protect the capital in our absence! When we come back and something happened… you’ll know what’ll happen!” Rumble said and his eyes flashed at them.
“Yes, sir! We understand!” the men said together.
Darian and Rumble then clasped and shook each of their hands and bid their farewell. As the carriage rumbled away with the force the horses pulled at, the men watched slowly disappear into the setting sun.
Once they disappeared, Vika turned to look at his men with a serious expression and shouted “The bosses have gone to help the mighty Phoenix Emperor. In their absence, it’s our duty to protect the city from any harm! Are you with me with this our bosses left us with?!”
There was a loud shout of “Yes!” from the group members.
After that, they all dispersed and went into city to do something. Only Vika remained at the city exit. He was staring at the setting sun and smiled.
“Good luck, Three Kings!” he said and stood at attention before saluting.
The group had left the capital of Radfox region and have set their sights on reaching the Floria region. Their mission was to save Felix before the deadline to the Trail of Betrayal is met. With their purpose on mind and confidence in their heart, they travelled distance into the setting sun.