With one punch to the mask, Lakshman sent Sevedant flying away. After crashing, Lakshman smiled proudly as he clutched his fist triumphantly. However, his cheerful mood was short lived as the dust was immediately cleared as Sevedant jumped to his feet.
While cricking his neck, Sevedant nonchalantly said “Mmm… Impressive! You managed to blow me away. You’ve come far! I’m happy for you.”
Staring at him with his mouth open, Lakshman exclaimed “Huh?!”
“It’s a compliment. Take it. Accept it. You’ve earned it,” Sevedant said and he sounded happy for the first time since they met him.
Lakshman stuttered for words as he did not know what to say. Just now, he had hit Sevedant with a powerful power punch, but it looked as if it did not do anything. From the way Sevedant was talking, it seemed to make him a little bit cheerful which felt a little creepy.
“Uh… You’re not injured or hurt or anything…?”
Sevedant shook his head and said “None. Normal. Feeling good. Satisfied, in fact.”
“Satisfied? Why? I didn’t exactly do anything, but train these three weeks!”
At that moment, they heard chuckling sounds from nearby. They turned and saw Darian and Rumble walking towards them while chuckling. Ondine, Tetra and Emilia remained in the same spot while looking in their direction.
“Lakshman, what are you saying? Have you already forgotten what you’ve been doing? Haven’t you realised the important part of it all?” Rumble asked him with an amusement expression on his face.
“Um… Mmm… Oh!”
Lakshman made an expression as if he was thinking. He did this for a moment before realising and letting out noise of exclamation.
“It was about strengthening my concentration, reaction, observation, sensing and the determination! The part of getting stronger and faster was just the added bonus for my effort, right?”
When they nodded, Lakshman looked confused. Then he asked “What was about the thing about not eating food properly then?”
At his words, Rumble looked at him with a broad grin on his face and said “It was to encourage you. What if you had to survive when you only have yourself to rely on? How would you have faced that sort of challenge? That was the kind of motivation we gave you.”
“My motivation plan,” Sevedant said in a stern voice.
Darian said “The fact is, we’ve been through this kind of training as well.”
“Eh?! With the Gravity Chamber and all?” Lakshman asked and he looked surprised.
Darian nodded and said “That’s right. In order to quickly become strong, we put ourselves through ridiculous training that no ordinary people could’ve survived!”
Rumble laughed and said “Yeah! Back then, the world was a lot more dangerous with wars and death everywhere. It’s not like today where it’s gotten too peaceful. However… I still hate my master for making me go without eating for a few days!”
Rumble suddenly looked annoyed a she recalled his past.
Darian looked him with his eyebrows raised and said “It was your fault for only eating and not focusing on getting stronger!”
“Back then, I was young and youthful! How the heck was I supposed to think like a mature person?”
“Not only that, but you kept sleeping during lessons! It’s like you never cared about those kinds of stuff!”
“Education bores me! When my clansmen studied, I used to get bored each time they talked about ancient times. I mean… seriously! What good could it do to always talk about the past? We can’t change the past, can we?”
“No, but the past makes us who we are today. It also gives us guidance in what we should be doing today and prepare for the future!”
They were glaring at each other when Rumble raised his hand in a gesture to stop.
“Let’s stop at this. If we continued arguing, we’ll go on forever and, by the time we came to some sort of conclusion, everyone would’ve fallen asleep!”
“Yeah because you’re such a stubborn monkey!” Darian said in exasperation.
“Look who’s talking!” Rumble said in exasperation.
They looked at each other before laughing. Their friendship was truly strong. Even though they were arguing so much, they quickly overcame it and became cheerful once again.
Watching them suddenly made Lakshman feel a little lonely. He had made friends or people wherever he went, but he did have the kind of friendship that Darian and Rumble had. They were best friends for life and Lakshman knew it was a strong bond.
“By the way… How old are you two?” Ondine suddenly asked when she walked over to them.
“Ah… Um…” Rumble began and hesitated.
He turned to look at Darian for help. Darian quickly shook his head before realising his obvious questions. Then, while smiling, he spoke to her.
“Ondine. Listen… Our ages don’t matter right now. So be a good girl and look after Lakshman, okay?”
Ondine did not immediately reply. She simply stared at him with her eyes narrowed slightly. Then she said “Are you, by any chance, treating me like a child?”
“Eh? No! Not at all!” Darian said and Rumble quickly came forward to assist in protecting his friend from a false accusation.
Watching the comical scene, Lakshman began laughing. It felt like a long while since he laughed like that. They looked at him and smiled at how happy he looked while laughing.
After that, they entered the portal and returned to the hotel room. Marilia was waiting there with the dinner all ready. For some reason, she had made food that caused their stomachs to growl with hunger.
“Well! Let’s dig in!” Darian said and everyone began picking the food and eating it.
“This is delicious!” Lakshman said brightly.
“Thank you!” Marilia said happily.
“More!” Rumble said after eating the food quickly.
“As much as you like,” Marilia said in an unusually good mood and she put more food on his plate.
It turned out she was really happy that Lakshman’s training was over. All this time, she had been worried sick about him not eating properly. She had demanded Darian several times to make him eat properly.
“He’s a growing boy that needs to eat his meals on time!” Marilia had said to him.
The truth was that Darian and Marilia cannot have babies. They discovered the shocking truth a several years after getting married with no sign of pregnancy. Since then, they lived together being cheerful with each other while managing to avoid talking about children.
That was until Lakshman walked into their lives. He was the only son of Indra and Lakshmi, who married with their permission. Somehow, they felt compassionate at the things that Lakshman did. They were marvelled by how disciplined and courteous he was at his age. That was when Marilia had wished that if he were their son, they would have been so happy.
Because of those feelings, Darian did his best to calm her down. The truth was that he was also unhappy that Lakshman had to go without food for a few days in order to get used to a gravity level. He did it because showing sympathy or going easy on him will actually destroy him later.
So, with the success of the training, Marilia transformed all her sadness into energy. Then she cooked up all the variety of food for their dinner. Seeing Lakshman happily eating eased her heart so much.
“I’m stuffed!” Rumble said with a little burp.
“Mind your manners, Rumble!” Marilia said severely as she, Ondine and Emilia picked up the plates and took them to the kitchen.
Ondine was the only one that did not eat any of the food. Being a Water Spirit, it made it hard for her to eat the human food. The fact was that she could eat it, but she preferred to consume only mineral water.
“You are picky for a Water Spirit…” Emilia commented.
“I’m a Water Spirit and what is our food is,” Ondine said with a sigh.
A while later, it was time for bed. After bidding each other goodnight, they entered their respective rooms. When inside their room, Ondine, Tetra and Emilia gathered to talk about something.
Curious what they were talking about, he asked “What is it, girls?”
“Um… It’s about this, master!” Ondine said and she handed him the Item Box.
Opening it, he was surprised to see a bunch of things inside; a lot of Health Bottles, Water Bottles, some sticks, fur, leather and various types of weapons. Along with that, he could see a bunch of gold coins stacked neatly to the side. Judging from how high it was stacked, he guessed it was well over a thousand.
“D-Did you girls collect all this?” Lakshman said in amazement when he looked up at them.
When they nodded their heads at him, he realised they were looking nervous. He quickly pulled out his Adventurer Card and checked what rank it was at. He was amazed to find that it had moved up to Rank B.
“Y-You girls went all the way down to Rank B? All by yourselves?!” Lakshman asked in astonishment and he looked at them with wide eyes.
“W-Well… Since master’s been training so hard to protect us and all, we decided to go all the way down to Level B,” Emilia said nervously with all her previous confidence suddenly disappeared.
“Are you alright?! Do any of you need any medical attention?! I can do my best to heal you or maybe ask Marilia to check you out!” Lakshman said in an anxious voice as he moved towards them.
“No, master! We’ve completely fine! Emilia only got a scratch, but she got healed by Marilia later! So it’s completely fine!” Ondine said quickly and Emilia nodded while keeping head slightly down.
“A scratch? I thought it was more like a deep to her side. She also lost a lot of blood and was unconscious before being healed…” Tetra muttered and Ondine made a shushing sounds in her direction.
Lakshman reached them and hugged them much to their surprise. Then he began speaking in an emotional voice.
“Thank goodness… Thank goodness, but still…! From now on, make sure to tell me, okay? I’m not a stranger or do you think I am?”
Seeing him looking at them apprehensively, they quickly spoke reassuring words to him.
“You are my master and I am your blade! I am just an extension of you!”
“I’m you Slave Spirit for life, master! I could never consider you an outsider!”
“I-I’m master’s slave and I will assist in whatever you need!”
Surprised by their reassuring words and smiled happily. Then he looked back to where all the money was stacked neatly inside the Item Box. It astonished him just how much it could carry. The next time he got the opportunity, he decided to talk to find out everything about it from Darian and the others.
“Anyway! Since you girls did such a great job, I’ll have to reward you!” Lakshman said and he smiled brightly at them.
“Eh? A-A reward for us? Um…” Emilia said and she looked at the other girls.
“There’s no need for a reward master… As long as you um… treat us well, we’re fine with that…” Ondine said softly and the other two nodded at her words.
Their words meant one thing, but their eyes were darting back and forth. Even their hand were fidgeting as if they felt restless. Experience had taught Lakshman that the girls actually wanted a reward, but were afraid to ask.
Maybe out of respect or not wanting to ask him anything in return, Lakshman did not know. All he knew was that these three girls are his important companions and they need to be rewarded for their effort.
“Tomorrow, let’s go around and see. I want you girls to choose whatever you want!” Lakshman told them firmly.
“E-Eh? Really?” Emilia asked as the three of them looked surprised.
Lakshman nodded and said “Naturally! Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to call myself a man to not reward the women that worked so hard for me!”
All three girls looked happily at him. Their eyes were suddenly shining.
Then they all suddenly jumped on him at the same time while shouting “Master!”
“Ah! H-Hey!” Lakshman said as the girls jumped on him.
While hugging him happily, they happily fall onto the bed. While lying down, they said “Thank you, master!”
Tetra was happy that she was going to be rewarded. Ondine felt happy about him rewarding her for her effort. For Emilia, that was the first time she was going to be rewarded by a master. She was thankful for having such a master to serve.
As they lay on bed and quickly fell asleep, the lights turned off. Everything became quiet and still with a cheerful mood surrounding the room.
Elsewhere, also in the darkness, a man’s voice spoke.
“Sacred Armoured Phoenix Titan? Who is that?”
A person kneeling before the man said “We don’t know, master, but he often appears at a sigh where disaster occurs!”
“Quickly find out who he is! Better yet, bring him to me! I want to know who that fake is! I will not tolerate anyone to mock the Phoenix Clan, no matter who they are! Do I make myself clear?!”
As the man spoke, a powerful surge of energy was unleashed. It caused the kneeling person to break into a sweat.
“Y-Yes, master! We, the Phintex Rajas, will do our utmost to find out who that fake is!”
Once he finished speaking, he and the rest of the people kneeling behind him disappeared.