They have been on the road for some time and travel a considerable amount of distance. They stopped several times along the road and made camp. During the night, it was either Darian or Rumble that kept watch in case monsters decided to attack them.
“Please try not to stir up trouble, otherwise master won’t be pleased,” Ondine told them with a worried look on her face.
Rumble laughed and said “Don’t worry. I won’t attack unless they make the first move.”
“Yes, but you like meat so…”
Rumble raised his eyebrows in surprise and indignantly said “Hey! I do love meat, but I’m not a beast to go around killing monsters just to fill my stomach!”
“Yes, you’re not, but I’m constantly eating meat is not always good,” Marilia said and she looked at him sternly.
“Heh! I’m from the Beast race! Beasts have no trouble with meat. Unlike humans, we’re strong in our appetite!”
“Says the guy who needed a power punch to the stomach to make you spit out a stray bone that you accidentally swallowed.”
“I… That was an accident,” Rumble said shortly, but Marilia knew better as she shook her head at him.
During all this, Lakshman was fast asleep. He had been asleep for the last two-three days. Ondine was worried why he was not waking up, but Tetra reassured her that he will wake up soon.
“Master just used up quite a lot of energy when he used Transcendent Blade and Transcendent Talk. He needs rest to regain his vitality.”
“B-But… Couldn’t we restore his vitality with a simple healing spell?” Ondine asked Marilia hopefully.
Marilia shook her head and said “Unfortunately, that’s a Sage ranked healing spell, but I am only Saint ranked healer. I’m sorry Ondine, but don’t worry. A little sleep and he’ll be up and about again!”
“I-If you say so,” Ondine said and she nodded, but did not look convinced.
Tetra sighed and said “Instead of always worrying about master, why don’t you worry about yourself for a change?”
“Worry about myself? What should I worry about in particular, Tetra?”
“You haven’t been sleeping properly. If you keep being active like that you’ll eventually run yourself into the ground! Take some rest and sleep since we’re on the move right now.”
“I’m perfectly fine! So keep your advices to yourself because I don’t need them!”
Tetra shrugged her shoulders and said “Suit yourself, but master would have told you the same thing. If he found out that you haven’t been sleeping properly, he would get very worried and get stressed that it was probably because of him!”
At Tetra’s words, Ondine widened her eyes and asked “R-Really? Master would feel that way towards me when I’m just his Slave Spirit?”
Tetra sighed and said “You really are unbelievable.”
“Ondine, you are a Slave Spirit. Yes. I won’t deny it, but master doesn’t treat you like one. To him, you, me and everyone close to him are important. We are precious to him and you know how mad he gets if any of us gets hurt.”
Ondine, upon hearing those words, suddenly realised it. Lakshman always treated her with respect and dignity ever since she became his Slave Spirit. He did use force to make her do some things, but he apologised later since he found out that he was at fault.
Hearing upon the past history of events, she had learnt that humans treated slaves horribly. They did not receive the kind of treatment they deserved for being living creatures. Many were used endlessly and thrown away once their use was over.
Comparing to those stories, Lakshman proved to be nothing like them. On the other hand, she felt a little friction from Marilia as if she did not want to deal with her. Ondine understood her reaction be similar to those humans that treat slaves as if their lives are meaningless.
“I’m sorry,” she said and she bowed her head in apology.
Tetra smiled and nodded as she said “That’s quite alright. Now sleep and get a good rest.”
“Yes, I will. Thank you very much, Tetra,” Ondine said and she truly smiled at her for the first time.
With that, Ondine moved into a comfortable position with her back to the carriage and quickly fell asleep. Tetra watched her sleeping face and closed her eyes and also slept. It seemed the two of them have finally begun to treat each other a little more respect.
A few hours later, Lakshman finally woke up. He felt drowsy as he sat up in the carriage.
“Good morning,” he mumbled as he rubbed his eyes to focus properly.
Marilia chuckled and said “Yes, but its evening.”
“Oh…? It’s that time already?” he asked vaguely.
She shook her head and said “No. You’ve just been asleep for two whole days. That’s a long time to sleep from getting if you ask me.”
“Two days? Well…! That’s far better than having to wake up two weeks later!” Lakshman said and he grinned at her.
As he straightened up, he felt something on either side of him. He turned his around to each side what it was and was amazed to see Ondine and Tetra sleeping. They were sleeping like cats while snuggled close to him.
Lakshman looked up at Marilia and asked “Um… What are they doing next to me?”
“They felt sleepy. So they chose to sleep next to you. You seem to be used to them sleeping next o you since you didn’t move once!” Marilia said and she winked while grinning.
He shrugged his shoulders and said “Oh well, but I’m glad they are resting. We just had a unnecessary fierce battle. So this is good.”
Like this they continued their journey to the Floria region. Day by day, they camped outside with Marilia cooking the food after collecting the required ingredients. They thoroughly enjoyed the food, but she was getting bored with making the same food over and over again.
“Darian! We need more ingredients,” she demanded on afternoon once they finished lunch.
“More? Why? Aren’t these sufficient enough? Or are you worried Rumble will start eating more?” Darian asked curiously.
“Hey!” Rumble exclaimed indignantly.
“No. I’m just getting tired of cooking more and more of the same type! I want to cook something else for a change.”
“Right, but Marilia… None of us are complaining,” he said. Then, turning to face everyone, he asked “Do you guys have trouble eating the food?”
Lakshman, Ondine and Tetra all shook their heads. Rumble simply leaned back and patted his stomach contently. Darian eyed him wearily, but turned away to look at Marilia once more.
“See! None of them are complaining! In fact, I’m sure they love your cooking!”
“I can see that, but I’m the one that’s getting tired of cooking the same thing all the time!” Marilia said insistently.
“Marilia… Come on…”
“Oh yes. If you don’t get me new ingredients, you can cook your own meals! You got that?” she said and she glared at him.
“Gah!” Darian said as he realised she was serious.
He stared at her as she walked back to the carriage to get a drink. Throughout the time that he and she began living together, he knew how stubborn she is. If she did not get her own way, she would immediately do drastic things that do not go well for him.
Rumble moved closer to him and muttered “Just let her do her stuff. We can go buy the supplies in the next town we get to. Isn’t that fine?”
“Yes, but… If I don’t stand firm, she’ll always win in these things,” Darian said slowly in a frustrated voice.
Rumble shook his head and said “Hey! She’s your wife! Throughout your married life, she followed you and allowed you do most things she disliked you to do. So isn’t it only fair that you be flexible with her in things like these? Besides, she’s only asking to make a different kind of food. What’s so wrong about it?”
“I know…” Darian said and he sighed in resignation.
Later he informed his wife about his plan to stop at the next town to get the supplies she needed. She was extremely happy and hugged him out of excitement which stunned him. It had been a while since she had done something like hugging him.
And so, they arrived at the next town three days later. Once they parked the carriage in a safe place, Darian and Marilia went out to shop. Meanwhile, Rumble, Lakshman, Ondine and Tetra went out to have morning breakfast.
“I wonder what we’ll get to do today,” Lakshman asked excitedly.
Rumble whistled easily while Ondine and Tetra were talking about what kind of food they could eat. All of them were cheerful and ready for a brand new day. What they did not know was how crazy their day will turn out to be.