Reaching the Monsters
The carriage rumbled on the road and passed tree after trees on either side. Both sides of the road were covered in forest trees. The sunlight streaming through the hanging trees shined the road ahead.
It took them several minutes to get back onto the road before charging towards their destination. They were headed towards the location the messenger told them. Their carriage was moving a little faster than normal, but they were in a hurry.
“Come on, Rumble! Pick up the pace!” Darian demanded as he tried to urge Rumble to make the horses move faster.
“Any faster and we’ll be the ones in danger, idiot!” Rumble replied in an annoyed voice.
“Fine! So stop complaining and keep it moving!”
“Stop whining like a fool!”
“I’ll show you who’s whining at the end of this!”
“You two, stop it unless you want me to finish this?!” Marilia suddenly said sternly and she glared at the both of them.
“He started it!” was the reply both Darian and Rumble said and they pointed at each other.
The next moment, they both let out pained voices as Marilia hit them hard on their heads. Darian and Rumble quickly held their heads and moaned a little.
“I don’t like it when you do it like that,” Rumble muttered as he rubbed his head.
“Are you asking me to be a little bit more forceful? I can be if you like!” Marilia said and she suddenly drew her fist back as if to punch them.
Realising the danger they were in, Darian and Rumble instantly said “No thanks!”
Marilia sighed and sat back in the carriage. Other than her and the messenger, there was Lakshman, Ondine and Tetra inside the carriage. They were looking tense since they knew a battle was imminent.
“We just fought massive drunken fools on mad rampage and we’re already going to fight again,” Ondine said and sighed.
“You have no room to complain, Ondine. Darian, Rumble and master were the ones who fought and saved that day for us,” Tetra said curtly.
“What?!” Ondine exclaimed in surprise. Then she asked “Are you, by any chance, suggesting that I’m weak?”
“No… But I’m saying that we haven’t fought in a while. I feel like our skills have become somewhat slack.”
“Slack? Mmm… Now that I think about it… I recently haven’t fought at all. Maybe this is my chance?” Ondine said thoughtfully.
“Maybe, but I’m not going to let you shine! It’s time I show master my capabilities!”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just watch and learn the brilliance of a Sacred Spirit that carries the title ‘Phoenix Blade’!” Tetra said and she puffed her chest proudly.
Ondine raised an eyebrow at seeing Tetra’s reaction and asked “Okay, but what about master? Wouldn’t he be vulnerable without you? You are his sword after all! How do you plan on fighting while he needs you to with as well?”
At her questions, Tetra chuckled and said “Didn’t you know? Rumble told master to strictly use only magic from now on.”
“Huh? Is that true, master?” Ondine said and looked surprised as she looked at Lakshman.
Lakshman nodded and said “Since I haven’t been using my magic for a while, it seems I’ve become a little rusty.”
“More than rusty! He kept using the wrong damn spells and a lot of game got away!” Rumble said as he quickly poked his head inside to tell them before facing the front again.
Lakshman shrugged his shoulders and said “It’s only natural, I guess.”
“What do you mean ‘it’s only natural’?! You’ve been training with both magic and sword for a long time, master! A few months without training shouldn’t have caused your skills to drop so drastically!” Ondine said with a frown on her face.
“It’s not that bad, but I did make a few mistakes. So I’ll be using this staff from now on,” Lakshman said and he indicated the miniature solid object he was holding onto.
Ondine looked at it curiously and asked “Master, isn’t that the one… Sumara gave you before leaving? You’ve kept it with you all this time?”
He nodded and smiled as he said “That’s right, Ondine. At first, I wondered if I should take it with me since it was so big. Then I found the compressing mechanism and I liked it very much!”
Ondine shook her head in exasperation and said “You are a strange one as always, master.”
Lakshman shrugged, but Tetra suddenly looked angry and said “Ondine! How dare you say such a rude thing to our master?!”
“What’s so rude about it? I just stated the fact!” Ondine said firmly.
“Even so, it’s rude to say it so directly to master! Consider how master will feel about being called ‘strange’ all the time!” Tetra said sternly.
“What is he, a six year old to care about what others think of him?” Ondine asked and she rolled her eyes in exasperation.
“Ah…! Ondine you lack manners!” Tetra finally said and she shook her head with a disapproving expression on her face.
While they were talking and arguing, there was someone that remained silent. He listened to the conversations and watched the behaviour of the people that saved him.
A while ago, he was grateful that they saved him, but now he was worried. Before departure, Darian promised him to save his escort from the attack of a Fribaboros. He was pleased at that time since Darian was a renowned Sword King and Rumble being a Monkey King. Now he wondered whether he made a mistake in believing the group to be strong.
Feeling concerned, he wanted to voice his doubt. So he asked “Um… Will we really be fine?”
The only people to hear him were Lakshman and Marilia. They heard him over the heated conversation Ondine and Tetra were having. Lakshman raised an eyebrow in amazement at the man’s question while Marilia laughed.
“I don’t know why you’re so worried, but it’ll be fine,” Marilia said reassuringly and she smiled at him.
“Yes, but…” the man said and he stared at Ondine and Tetra as they continued to argue.
Noticing the two of them and understanding why the man was looking worried, Marilia shook her head.
She pointed at them and said “They might look like they are arguing, but they are good friends. It’s just that their rivalry is very strong and when they get heated up, they begin arguing like this.”
“Ah… Yes, but…” the man said hesitantly and he looked towards the front of the carriage where Darian and Rumble sat.
Marilia glanced at them and sighed. Then she said “The girls are not the only exceptions here. Just now Darian and Rumble began arguing, but I quickly put a stop to that.”
“I…I see,” the man said slowly, but did not look convinced.
“Mister, you won’t achieve anything by worrying. In fact, the more you worry, the less focus you will have in battle. I think we know how dangerous lack of focus can be in a fight, right? So just calm down and ignore them.”
“Yes, but… Those girls are calling you master when you look like you’re only twelve years old…” the man said with a raised eyebrow.
Lakshman sighed and firmly said “Mister, what did I just say? Ignore those tiny details. They are off no concern right now! Okay!”
“R-Right…!” the man said quickly and realised any further thoughts will only get him into trouble.
As their carriage moved along the road, they heard the sounds of combat from nearby. The sounds grew louder and louder as if they were getting close to the source. The battle sounded fierce as there were shouts and yells of people which mixed along with roars of monsters.
“Oh! That sounds like the kind of thing I’m interested in!” Rumble said from the front and he sounded excited.
“What about it? Isn’t it something normal for us?” Darian asked curiously.
Rumble laughed and said “Come on! I can finally get the chance to take my revenge on that pile of wasted meat!”
“You say that, but you’ll eat them right after killing them anyway, right?”
Rumble grinned and happily said “Naturally!”
As everyone laughed, the messenger could only hand his mouth open in astonishment. Again, the main was clouded with doubt about the strength of the group.
At that moment, they turned a corner and the horses came to a shuddering stop. The force of the quick stop caused everyone to jumble up in the carriage. Rumble and Darian jumped off the carriage and tried calming the horses as they were making frightened noises.
Inside the carriage, everyone was recovering from the sudden force stop.
“Oww…” Ondine muttered softly as she was lying on the ground.
“That stings…!” Tetra said as she grudgingly moved a little.
“Oww! Tetra, stop moving! You’re pressing my leg!” Ondine suddenly said sharply.
“Ah? Sorry!” Tetra said apologetically.
As they recovered, they heard Marilia’s voice ask “Is everyone okay?”
“I’m fine,” the man said as he sat upright.
“I’m… normal,” Ondine said and she moaned a little.
“Tetra is uninjured,” Tetra said and she sounded a little disgruntled.
“Alright. How about you Lakshman?”
At her question, Lakshman did not respond, They began looking around for him with concern. Just then, Ondine and Tetra heard a low moan from beneath them.
Then they heard Lakshman’s voice struggle to say “H-Heavy…!”
At that moment, Ondine and Tetra looked down. There, lying beneath them, was Lakshman. It seemed the force stop caused him to get buried beneath the girls. Now he was struggling to move his body because both the girls landed on him.
“I’m sorry, master!” Ondine and Tetra said in unison in shocked voices and they quickly got off him.
Lakshman slowly sat up and said “It’s fine, but… you girls are really heavy…!”
“M-Master! It’s rude to speak to maiden like that! It’ll hurt out innocent hearts!” Ondine said and she looked tearful for a moment.
“Ondine! Don’t blame master! It’s your fault for being so heavy! Marilia, Ondine needs to cut down on the water she drinks every day from now on!” Tetra said and she made a cheeky grin.
Ondine was about to retort when a loud roar sounded some meters in front of them. They all got off the carriage and walked towards the front. What they saw caused Lakshman and Ondine’s jaw to drop in astonishment.
A monster, quite bigger than them with a red body, was fighting fiercely against the escort group. Although it was fighting against the them, it was only by swinging its spiked tail at them or breathe fire in their direction.
The escort group were launching magic attacks at the monster, but it does not seem to be having any effect on the monster. It simply roared and either fired fire out of its mouth or trashed them with its spiky tail.
“Yikes! It looks dangerous!” Ondine said once she recovered.
“Dangerous? I think that’s an understatement,” Lakshman said an exasperated voice.
While the red monster was roaring wildly, they noticed three more Triaboros monsters engaging the escort group. It seemed the armoured men were able to hold their ground against these ferocious monsters, but they seemed to be getting tired.
“Okay! It’s now our turn to be on the spot light and turn these meat heads into meat food!” Rumble said and he began cracking his fingers with a crazy smile on his face.
“Hey, hey! You’re the only one crazy enough to eat such a meat, you monkey brained idiot!” Darian said in an annoyed voice.
“So what?! Let’s do this!” Rumble said excitedly.
He looked at them and asked “Ready?”
“Ready!” Ondine said with a determined expression on her face.
Tetra did not respond, but instead yawned as if she was bored. Rumble raised an eyebrow at her, but decided to move on. When he looked at Marilia, she nodded at him and smiled to reassure hm.
When he looked at Lakshman, he asked “You ready?”
Lakshman nodded and grinned as he said “Let’s attack!”
Rumble raised his eyebrows in surprise and said “Ah! You said it!”
Then he turned around and laughed. Then his eyes flashed with a crazy expression on his face as he said “Alright, people! Let’s turn those stupid monsters into our food!”
“Let’s do it!” Darian shouted and they roared in unison before they rushed toward the monster.