The next morning, Lakshman and Ondine headed for the Labyrinth. It was just the two of them with Lakshman borrowing one of Darian’s swords. Tetra had to remain behind because of a certain task Darian had gaven her.
Two days ago, Darian suggested to Lakshman that he be a hero which was to temporarily be the Phoenix Titan. When Darian informed everyone yesterday about the idea, they were all shocked. Everyone, except Tetra. It seemed she was excited at the idea for some reason.
“That’s an awesome idea!” Tetra said excitedly much to everyone’s surprise.
Seeing her excitement puzzled Lakshman and he uncertainly asked “Tetra? Y-You’re okay with this?”
She nodded her head vigorously at him and said “It’s a perfect plan to show our might to the stupid clan!”
Lakshman understood she meant the Phoenix Clan and realised he will not be able to convince her. With the Sword King and Phoenix Blade in agreement, everyone else did not find the courage to voice their disapproval.
That morning, Tetra told him she cannot come with him and Ondine. It seemed she had some things to do, but did not tell they what exactly. It looked like Tetra wanted to surprise them once she finished whatever she wanted to do.
Lakshman sighed which made Ondine to look at him and speak in a concerned voice.
“What is it, master? Are you still thinking about yesterday?”
When he nodded, she smiled and said “I’m sorry I couldn’t support you master, but it was no good. The agreement between the Sword King and the Phoenix Blade made Marilia and the rest stay quiet. So I knew my disapproval would not work in your favour.”
“It’s alright. I also realised that it would be dangerous for anyone to interfere with their agreement,” Lakshman said and he sighed once again.
Ondine looked at him with a smile on her face as she said “You are such a nice person, master.”
At those words, Lakshman laughed and said “I know, but sometimes I wonder if that’s a bad thing. I feel helping people is right thing to do, but I also wonder what will happen if anything goes wrong.”
“If anything goes wrong? Well… I think we’ll get into a load of trouble!” Ondine said in a matter-of-fact tone.
Lakshman chuckled before looking depressed. He knew the consequences for doing this might be bigger than what Ondine estimated, but he did not what else to do. Yet, he also did not feel unhappy at doing it. After all, doing something is better than standing around and letting things do their thing.
A while later, they arrived at the stone wall. Previously, they had to place a place their hands on it and say the word “Enter” and it would magically warp them into the Labyrinth.
Lakshman wondered whether he will meet Emilia Serabell, the girl whom they saved two days ago.
Before going into the Labyrinth, they setup their party. Then they placed their hands on the stone wall and said the command. Light surrounded them and they were warped into the Labyrinth. A moment later, they found themselves inside it.
The first thing they noticed was someone standing a few meters away. They were looking at the floor with their hands in front of them.
Lakshman immediately recognised who it was and called out to them.
Hearing her name being called out, Emilia looked up. When she saw Lakshman and Ondine, she suddenly smiled and walked over to them.
“Ah! Good morning, Lakshman and Ondine!” She greeted them with a smile and she bowed to each of them.
“Good morning, Emilia,” Lakshman said and he and Ondine bowed in return.
When they straightened up, Emilia continued to smile at them as she said “Thank you very much for saving me the other day. I truly appreciate it!”
“It was no problem, but I think you should work on improving your rank. I don’t think an Advanced ranked warrior should attempt the Level C without advancing to the Saint or Sage rank,” Ondine told her in a voice full of concern.
“Ah. I thought as much. Very well. I’ll do accordingly,” Emilia said and she smiled brightly at them.
As she smiled, Lakshman suddenly noticed something. Covering Emilia’s visible parts of arms and legs were scars. He was horrified at how sharp those scars were.
“E-Emilia! Those scars…!” Lakshman said and he pointed at them.
“Oh? These? They are nothing to worry about,” she said as if it was nothing.
Lakshman’s eyes widened slightly. He reacted this way, not because she had scars, but because of how casually she spoke. To her, the scars are nothing, but the harsh treatment she constantly receives in the name of punishment.
Lakshman got angry momentarily, but it quickly evaporated. He realised how useless getting around would be and he decided to heal her scars.
“Stay still, Emilia. I’m going to heal you,” Lakshman said and he moved forward.
“Eh? No! It’s alright! You don’t need to concern yourself with my wellbeing, Lakshman,” Emilia said, but Lakshman did not back down.
“Comply!” Lakshman ordered in a strong firm voice and Emilia suddenly became stiff in surprise.
“Master?” Ondine asked curiously.
Normally, he did not like doing that sort of thing. He firmly believed people should be asked or requested instead of forcing them. That was part of the reason he fails at stopping Ondine and Tetra from arguing. However, seeing a girl in pain and saying it as nothing was something he was not going to let it slide.
“Spirits of light, restore the strength and lift the pain of this innocent one. Healing!”
Lakshman had forgotten how it was originally said. Instead, he had opted to try something different. After chanting many magic spells, he realised the chanting of words is simply to guide the Magic Force. So long as the words made sense and the purpose for it, the magic spell will activate.
A bright light appeared in front of his outstretched hand and Emilia closed her eyes. It took him a few minutes to heal her scars. Healing was an Advanced ranked magic spell and, because of that, it took longer to heal.
“Mental note! Must ask Marilia to train me to use stronger and better magic spells!” He thought to himself firmly.
He cursed himself for being so stupid to ignore learning Healing Magic Spells. In the past few months, he trained with the sword, studied various magic spells from books and practiced hand to hand combat. So he was annoyed at himself for forgetting something as important as the healing spells.
“There!” Lakshman said in satisfaction once he finished healing as much as he could.
Emilia looked at her arms and legs in amazement. Then she looked at him in awe and said “I-I really don’t know how to thank you enough for this…!”
“You’re welcome,” Lakshman said as he straightened up.
Then they began walking along the corridor to the stairs that would lead to Level D. Ondine had a troubled expression on her face because she was concerned for Emilia. Unable to contain herself, she decided to speak to Emilia about it.
“Why do you continue to serve such a pig? Couldn’t you do something or move out or something? Ondine asked with an unhappy expression on her face.
Emilia shook her head and said “I can’t. I’m a slave and am bound as master’s personal property by the rules of the Slave Seal. If I were to do anything against it, the seal will activate and hurt me.”
“You call that getting hurt? It’s more like getting tortured!” Ondine said angrily.
Lakshman suddenly remembered what happened two days ago and he winced slightly. It felt like a bad dream to him now, but the memory still haunted him. Such an inhuman treatment on anyone was unthinkable.
Emilia shrugged her shoulders with a sad smile on her face. Then she said “At-least, I am getting good meal and a good night sleep. So I should be grateful for master providing me at least that much.”
“Grateful to that pig?! Unbelievable!” Ondine angrily shouted when she could not contain herself.
Emilia suddenly looked troubled as she said “Please don’t call master that. It’s really disrespectful to speak like that about anyone.”
“Yeah! Anyone! I understand, but your master is such a…!” Ondine said and paused when she struggled for words.
Lakshman placed a calming hand on her shoulder and she looked at him unhappily. Seeing the smile on his face, she realised it was better to stop talking about it. Lakshman disliked the man as well, but he also knew talking about it will not change anything.
When Ondine fell silent, Lakshman turned and spoke to Emilia.
“What did he do when his slaves died?”
“Master? He… He didn’t really care…” Emilia said in a low voice.
“I see…” Lakshman said and he nodded in understanding.
He knew the answer before he asked, but did not want to be prejudice. When they met two days ago, Lakshman immediately disliked the man. He was short, fat and had an arrogant expression when he spoke to them, not to mention slap Lakshman to the ground and call him a low life.
None of it worried him, but the fact that man casually ignored the deaths of so many of his slaves was incomprehensible. That was also the beginning of Lakshman’s deep dislike for nobility.
“Bastard…!” Lakshman muttered angrily and he clenched his fists tightly.
Only Ondine heard him and it was her turn to place a calming hand on his shoulder. He looked at her and nodded with a smile.
Lakshman was not particularly angry at the man for being like that. Rather, he was angry at the system for turning people into like that man. It was the system’s fault for making life so easy for people like them.
A few months ago, Lakshman did not understand the adult talk between Darian and Ondine, but now he knew. Experience has taught him that important lesson that money is a great governing factor in the world. Even through corruption, a man can get away with almost anything.
“This world is as corrupted as it can get! Without heroes and legends, people are doing whatever they like! If you have money and wealth, you can do anything you want!”
Those were not the exact words the Death Titan, Sevedant said, but that was how Lakshman understood. Nobility and royalty seemed to always trump over the commoners. It caused some frustration because of how unfair the status quo was.
At that moment, he was abruptly brought back to reality when Emilia spoke to him and Ondine.
“I’ll separating from you here because I won’t want to be hindrance to you.”
Lakshman was surprised to find that they had come down the stairs into Level D. He did not realise just how deeply he was thinking.
“Ah. Alright then. Take care and make sure to stay safe!” Ondine told her with a smile on her face.
Lakshman looked at her and was surprised. Although it would pass as a smile, to him it looked sad. Just from that he understood that Ondine clearly disliked the slavery. She was not alone because he also disliked it and he was sure so did so many anonymous others in the world.
“Yes and again, thank you very much for saving and then healing me! I really do appreciate it!” Emilia said earnestly.
She bowed to them and waved before walking away. The Labyrinth changed from the last time thee visited and there were several different paths they could go.
Lakshman and Ondine stood there and watched as Emilia walked away and then turned a corner before disappearing.
“I feel sorry for her. If only she had a master like you, master,” Ondine said sadly as tears formed in her eyes.
Lakshman nodded wordlessly as he continued to watch where Emilia disappeared. Emilia was a complete stranger to them, but in the short amount of time they knew each other, they came to like her. Somehow they had this strange feeling of closeness when they are together.
There was also another thing that Lakshman noticed when Emilia turned the corner; there were tears in her eyes. That was when he realised she was in more pain than she let on. He cursed himself for his carelessness at not noticing while he healed her. It was also the one that sparked his next few words.
“I’m will become a hero!” He said aloud and looked determined as he finally came to a decision.
“Eh? A hero? Are you sure, master? You know that a hero’s job is not that easy,” Ondine said in a concerned voice.
Lakshman was amazed at Ondine’s reaction. It was as if she had expected him to say those kinds of words. He found himself admiring Ondine more and more as the days go by.
“I know, but I just can’t let this keep going on! Whether I become the heroic Phoenix Titan or the average hero, I don’t care! I’ll do my best to put a stop to such ridiculousness once and for all!” Lakshman said in a firm voice.
Ondine turned to look at him anxiously. Then her eyes widened when she saw his eyes. His eyes suddenly become red with three stars drawn on them. He also had an unusual serious expression on his face. Somehow, it gave her a strange feeling as if she was looking at someone else altogether.
“I am not dumb or stupid! I am neither useless nor powerless! I have the power to make a difference and I will make it happen! That is my purpose! My goal! My action!” Lakshman said and he turned to look at her.
Ondine looked at him in silence. Then she tentatively asked “Master? I-Is that what you really want?”
At her question, his eyes suddenly returned to normal as he said “What? Is there something with that goal?”
Ondine slowly shook her head. At that moment, she suddenly remembered the words Tetra had spoken to her some time ago.
“Master has potential that far surpasses anyone, but he is too soft to let it out! Only when he gets serious and puts his mind to it, he will achieve the pinnacle of his true greatness! Then the entire world will know and honour him for who he is!”
Those were Tetra’s words wand Ondine finally understood the meaning behind it.
“Let’s go and get some work done. Otherwise, we’ll be having our ears filled with scolding from Marilia!” Lakshman said cheerfully.
A moment ago, he was serious and now he was back to being cheerful. Ondine was confused, but she understood the slow change he was going through. With that, she became even more determined to stay by his side and aid him in any way she possibly could.
So with an energetic “Yes!” she followed after him.