“Lakshman. Why stronger? Why better?” Sevedant, the Death Titan, asked Lakshman during one of their trainings.
“What do you mean, Sevedant?” Lakshman asked curiously.
“Get stronger. Why?”
“Oh…! Well…! I had a run in with a lot of strong warriors and it made me realise how weak I am! That’s why I am trying to get stronger so that I won’t get so badly injured next time!”
“Get stronger. Not prey. Only defence,” Sevedant said as he nodded his head in understanding.
“Master is extremely determined to do anything he sets his mind on. No matter how difficult it is, he manages to overcome it with sheer grit and toughness!” Ondine told him while looking proud.
“Hmm… That’s it?” Sevedant asked as if he was expecting more.
“Um… I guess you could say I’m doing this to make my parents feel proud of me! They are the nicest parents in the world and I want to make them feel happy I achieved this on my own!” Lakshman said happily and he grinned at them.
Ondine clapped her hands together energetically while Sevedant nodded his head in understanding.
“Only those? Nothing special?”
“Ah. Well…” Lakshman said and he smiled embarrassedly. He hesitated for a moment and then said “I promised mum I’ll come back alive after this. If anything happened here, it would torment her because she supported me to come here. That’s why! I want to get strong to be able to protect others and myself!”
“Motherly promise. Very interesting. Hmm… Strong determination. Strong will. Strong energy. Unfortunate. Weak mind,” Sevedant said with a sigh.
“Huh? Weak mind? What do you mean?” Lakshman asked in a surprised voice.
He was suddenly pushed aside as Ondine suddenly flared up at hearing her master being called weak minded.
“Who you’re saying has a weak mind?! Hah?! Take your words back and apologise, Sevedant!” she demanded him with an angry look on her face.
“Truth. No lies. Fact. Reality. Face it,” Sevedant said calmly.
“W-What’s that supposed to mean?!” Ondine demanded angrily.
“Calm down, Ondine! First of all, Sevedant…! Explain why you think I’m weak minded,” Lakshman asked him while he held firmly onto Ondine’s shoulders.
“Not only. Shallow minded.”
Ondine suddenly struggled hard against Lakshman’s firm grip as she said “What is wrong with you?!”
“Ondine, I order you to calm down!” Lakshman said as he ordered her using the Slave Spirit control.
Ondine instantly lost all the angry energy she built up. She began to take deep breaths to calm down, but continued to glare fiercely at Sevedant.
“Becoming strong. Requires more. Strength meaningless. Wisdom meaningless. Speed meaningless. Becoming Titan. Not so easy. Requires strong heart. Unshakable mind.”
“Eh? It’s that hard to become a Titan?” Lakshman asked with a surprised look on his face.
Sevedant nodded and said “Not earned. Given. Chosen. Met conditions.”
“Conditions? There are conditions to becoming a Titan?” Lakshman asked and, when Sevedant nodded, he asked “What are they?”
Sevedant looked at him and Lakshman imagined him giving him a serious expression behind the mast.
“Conditions vary. Different titans. Different conditions. Different requirements. Not easy. Very difficult. Meaningfully selected. Purposefully chosen.”
“Wow…! All this is so complicated!” Lakshman said in a wondering voice.
Just then, Tetra manifested into her human form and said “Which is why Felix couldn’t become the Phoenix Titan.”
“Eh? He couldn’t because he didn’t meet the conditions? Why?” Lakshman asked in a shocked voice.
“Like Sevedant said, it varies for each of the titans. To become the Phoenix Titan, you must first be accepted by me or I become the user’s Contract Spirit.”
“Oh…!” Lakshman said and he quickly clutched his head as he felt the headache again.
“Are you alright, master?” Ondine asked anxiously at seeing him suddenly clutching his head and looking a little nervous.
“No. I’m fine. Continue explaining, Tetra,” he said as the headache quickly subsided.
Tetra nodded her head at him and continued to explain.
“The second is to be called upon by the Phoenix. You must be able to hear the voice of the Phoenix. Only then the Gates of Fire will open and let you acquire the Phoenix Titan powers from the Phoenix.”
“Oh…! So he couldn’t get you to recognise him as the new master and he couldn’t hear the voice of the Phoenix. That’s why he couldn’t become the Phoenix Titan and remained only as the Phoenix Emperor?”
“That’s right, master,” Tetra said as she nodded at him.
“But why? He’s such a nice person and everything! I’m sure he would’ve made an amazing Phoenix Titan!” Lakshman said as if he thought their judgement of him was wrong.
“His lazy attitude and his lack of desire for greater strength made him unworthy for such great power!” Tetra said and she had an annoyed expression on her face.
“Phoenix Titan. The strongest. The mightiest. Other titans. Comparably weak. Includes me,” Sevedant said in support to her.
“R-Really?! He is actually… that strong?!” Lakshman exclaimed with a shocked expression on his face.
“Yes, master. He is the strongest warrior in the entire world! Why, it was proven eight-thousand years ago when the Racial War occurred following the Emperor of the Worlds’ death. The other members of the Nine Pillars of Power attacked him in hopes to gain those powers, but were defeated with ease!”
“Holy…!” Lakshman said and he had a hard time digesting the shocking truth. Then he slowly said “He defeated all of them, all by himself?!”
Tetra nodded and said “Yes, master. I was there when he defeated them. He was overwhelmingly powerful! Along with that, he has the collective consciousness of the Phoenix Titans before him to support him.”
“Collective consciousness? What’s that?”
“It’s the consciousness of the past Phoenix Titans. This helps the present Phoenix Titan to access their memories or their past powers to use in his current battles!”
“That’s three wows in a second!” Ondine said and she clapped her hands.
“Stop that!” Lakshman told her, but he still had a disbelieving expression on his face. Then he said “He’s overwhelming! Extremely overwhelming! It’s like there’s no one in the world that can stop him!”
“That’s exactly it, master! That’s why we just cannot give that power away because of abusiveness! Felix is not like that, but he is someone that lacks the heart of a Phoenix Titan. A true warrior desires to become truly stronger than anyone else! That is the heart of the Phoenix Titan!”
“Awesome…!” Lakshman said quietly.
There was a short pause in which they simply looked at each other. No one spoke and the silence stretched on for a few minutes. Then it was broken as Lakshman spoke in an excited voice.
“That’s it! I’ve decided!”
“You’ve decided to become the Phoenix Titan, master?” Ondine asked eagerly.
“No! That’s too crazy for me and I doubt I will reach such a power in this life time!”
“Don’t underestimate. Analyse carefully. Analyse accurately,” Sevedant said in a stern voice.
“Yes, but that’s it! I’m going to become the strongest that I could possibly get!” Lakshman said and he grinned at them.
“Is that your new aim, master?” Tetra asked curiously.
“No! It’s something that I’m going to do from now on! It’ll be a regular thing like my other training! I’ve had enough of always being protected! I want to protect this time!” Lakshman said with a determined expression on his face.
“That’s excellent, master! I’ll join you in your quest to become the strongest that you could possibly get!” Ondine said and she bunched her hands into fists.
“Good goal. Strong determination. Not easy. Not overnight. Days. Months. Years. Long time. Long process,” Sevedant told them.
Lakshman nodded as he understood what Sevedant meant and said “Don’t worry! I’ll get really strong! I’ll show everyone what I can achieve by trying my best! I might even become so strong that I’ll be made a Phoenix King. Maybe?”
“Stop dreaming, master,” Tetra said sternly and Lakshman laughed easily.
With that, Lakshman’s determination to become stronger strengthened. Now he trains hard between stops to strengthen his body and powers. Like that, their journey continued to Floria region.