As they entered the city, the whole place was buzzing with excitement and news. The news was about the breakout that the Phoenix Emperor apparently schemed with his followers. It was spreading around and it was getting a lot of attention.
Lakshman however did not pay attention. He did not even take notice of the beautiful scenery or the amazing buildings around them. The guard’s message from earlier had left him wondering about it.
“Eh? Felix escaped from the… prison?” Lakshman muttered to himself.
Rumble made the horses pull the carriage along the streets bustling with people. The streets were clean and tidy while the tall buildings towered over them. Darian and Rumble greeted a few as they passed by, but everyone else simply ignored the carriage with two warriors sitting at the front.
A while later, Darian got Rumble to stop at a hotel labelled “Vastal Hotel Service”. After parking the carriage, Darian and Rumble got down and told the others wait. Then they walked into the hotel. This allowed Wolfenstine to move to the front of the carriage and hold the reins.
“Finally! I have the front seat!” Wolfenstine said cheerfully.
“Don’t do something stupid. You know how angry Darian can be,” Marilia warned in a stern voice.
“Sure!” Wolfenstine said and he relaxed comfortably.
A few minutes later, Darian and Rumble walked out. Rumble immediately looked annoyed when he saw Wolfenstine sitting in his seat. Darian quickly got them to get out of the carriage and unload their luggage.
Seeing Lakshman in a daze, Ondine asked “Master? Are you okay?”
“What? Oh! Yes! I’m fine!” Lakshman said quickly and he picked up his luggage.
As walked into the hotel, Darian spoke to someone wearing a splendid attire of full robes. Even this did not attract Lakshman’s attention because his mind was elsewhere.
The man and Darian talked for a moment. Then the man took a few keys and led the way. The group followed with several people throwing curious looks in their direction. Wolfenstine winked at a few of them and the ladies immediately blushed.
“Hey! Stop flirting already, you wolf face!” Rumble said in annoyance which caused Wolfenstine to shrug his shoulders.
They climbed up a flight of stairs for several minutes. Lakshman looked up and they saw the man turning to the right at a sign that read “Level 7”. This meant that they were on the third floor of the building.
“Here you are, sir. A family room,” the man said and he indicated to the last door on that side.
The man opened the door and showed them in. Lakshman was finally distracted as he glanced around in amazement at how neat the room was. The room was large with well decorated furniture and clean painted walls.
“How is it, sir? Is it suitable for you and your family?” The man asked eagerly while rubbing his hands together expectantly.
“Yes, it is,” Darian said and he nodded at the man.
Darian put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a pouch. Putting his hand in, he brought ten golden coins and handed it over to the man. The man nodded in satisfaction and bowed deeply at them before leaving the room.
“So! This is where we’ll be living until we sort out the problem!” Darian said once he turned around to speak to them.
Then he was stunned to discover that no one was listening to him. Everyone was moving around as they checked every part of the room. He sighed and decided he will address the issue later and decided to join them in their inspection.
The room so large that it almost felt like a mini-home. Then there was a room for a toilet and bathroom separated with inside locks. This meant that only the person can open the door from the inside once it is locked.
There were three double bedrooms. In each of the bedrooms, there were shelves and large cupboards to put their things in. It felt spacious and they liked it very much.
The beds were comfortable, although felt a little jumpy. Lakshman and Ondine thoroughly enjoyed the feeling. They lay down and felt so comfortable, Lakshman almost fell asleep until Tetra returned to her human form and pinched his arm.
“Now isn’t the time to sleep, master,” she said sternly and Lakshman nodded with an unhappy expression on his face.
“This is pretty good!” Marilia said when they reached the kitchen.
It was a well-spaced area where she could easily move around without feeling constricted. She moved around and opened the cupboards to see all the stencils provided for them.
Then they returned to the entrance of the room where Darian made them all sit in chairs. He also sat in a comfortable chair next to Marilia as she leaned against him.
“Now then! We’ll be staying here for a while until the problems are sorted!” Darian told them with a serious expression on his face.
“Problems?” Rumble asked with a puzzled expression on his face.
Ondine whacked him across the head and said “Yes, there are! First off, its Felix’s prison breakout!”
“Oh yeah…! That…!” Rumble said as he finally understood.
Everyone became silent as they were deep in thought. Lakshman, feeling uncomfortable, said “Is it true that Felix escaped?”
“Well the guards are saying that he did. So it has to be true since there’s no point in making up such a stupid lie!” Wolfenstine said.
“But that’s impossible! Felix is the Phoenix Emperor! He must know what’ll happen by doing that!” Ondine said with furrowed eyebrows.
“He would naturally know, but he escaped anyway. Which means…”
There was a pause and then Rumble asked “Which means…?”
Darian looked at each of them and said “Which means that he must have a powerful reason to choose to break out of a highly secured prison with the help of his people!”
They nodded and silence followed. Lakshman was thinking about Felix again. Felix was the person that saved his life when he was almost killed by the Serprad demon clan warriors. It was him who helped restore his home village back to normal.
He understood Felix was a carefree person, but he felt a powerful force when he applied it. Felix was always cheerful whenever he was around his parents, but exerted unbelievable force against those that tried to harm those that are close to him. He proved that when the Forest Elves tried to attack Lakshman.
Which finally brings him to the present.
“Felix must have had a powerful reason, but was that it? Could it have been kidnapping? Could it have been that Felix’s enemies? Maybe he was kidnapped to keep him quiet or to spread more bad rumours about him?”
“C-Could it be that he’s been… um… kidnapped?” Lakshman asked hesitantly.
Everyone looked at him with eyebrows raised. Then Darian shook his head and said “It would take a lot of power and effort to try to kidnap that guy! Most of the time he is docile, but get him angry and you won’t handle him!”
“Y-Yes, but… We heard the guards say he escaped with the help of his supporters. Doesn’t that mean Felix did not escape by choice? Perhaps, whoever it was, broke him out of prison for a reason because I don’t believe they would do it knowing the consequences,” Lakshman said with a serious expression on his face
“What are you getting at, master?” Ondine asked curiously and she looked at him intently.
Lakshman took a deep breath and said “What I’m wondering right now is… Did something happen to Felix?”
There was silence for a moment. Then Marilia suggested ideas by saying “Do you mean… Illness, Sickness, Paralysis or maybe something dangerous that could seriously harm him?”
“Yes! It must be that he was harmed in some way that caused his supporters to break him out! They probably did it to keep him safe until they find a way to cure him of whatever it was that is harming him!”
“Mmm… Perhaps a powerful curse placed on Felix,” Tetra said quietly.
“A powerful curse?” Lakshman asked her quickly and Tetra nodded at him.
“A curse is the only thing a Phoenix is not vulnerable to because of our strong bodies and long lifespan.”
“Could it be a curse that slowly kills him or something even more horrible?” Lakshman asked, but Tetra shook her head because she did not know.
Then they fell silent when Darian said “Let’s speak with Sevedant when he comes here.”
“How will he know we’re…? Ah!” Lakshman suddenly said as if he realised the obvious.
Darian slowly nodded with a smile as he said “Sensing energies should be an easy task for him!”
Lakshman nodded in understanding. Sevedant was a Death Titan and he should sense their whereabouts easily. He decided to speak to him when he arrives. In the meantime, he and everyone else got up and began unpacking their belongings.
Initially there was an argument about who will use which room. It was decided that Darian and Marilia will take one room while Lakshman, Ondine and Tetra took the other. This left one room for Rumble and Wolfenstine. When those two tried to argue, Darian glared at them fiercely and they quickly fell silent.
Later, Darian told them they have to start working because he does not intend to pay for their accommodation. When they groaned, he grinned broadly at them.
“There is no free lunch in this world,” Darian told them and they nodded since they have no choice.
So the first day reached its end with everyone in their respective rooms. Only Rumble and Wolfnestine were outside as they fought over each other on a board with pieces on them. Apparently it was a board game called “Kingdom” which is to take out the enemy king piece.
While everyone was doing their things, Lakshman was out in the veranda. He was looking up at the starry sky in wonder. In his short amount of life, he had met many people, done many crazy things and experienced many different emotions of life.
“Master, are you still worried?” Ondine asked when she approached him.
He turned around and shook his head at her. Then he smiled and said “Just admiring the beautiful night sky.”
“I see. Enjoy the night then, master,” Ondine said and left since she felt he did not her company.
He looked back up at the sky. The twinkling starts reminded his mother telling him how the stars guide people to the future. Even now, he sees many paths in front of him, but he was determined. Whichever path is in front of him, he was confident he can handle it with courage and strength.
Then he noticed the lights getting turned off and he decided to go to sleep. He closed the veranda door and headed towards his room. He laughed when he noticed Darian practically wrestling Rumble and Wolfenstine to go to bed. Feeling refreshed, he closed just as the lights turned off.
Elsewhere, in the shadows of the night, there was slow breathing. It seemed the person was having difficulty breathing as if they were drained of all energy. Just then, there was the sound of footsteps and a man appeared in a spot where a light suddenly showed.
The man bowed down and said “Master! The Sword King, Monkey King and the Scientific King have arrived in the city!”
The person he was speaking to grunted in reply. It looked like the person did not possess the strength to speak. Then the messenger continued speaking in a serious voice.
“Along with them, there appears to be a boy. His name is Lakshman Chand! Background check confirmed him to the son of Indra Chand and Lakshmi Chand.”
At that, the man suddenly coughed hard. Attendants quickly came, but he waved them away with his hands. Then the person spoke in a familiar voice that sounded full of happiness.