Punishment of Ondine (Accepted)
A few hours later, Lakshman, Ondine and Sumara were on horseback. They were riding the two horses Indra and Ondine used the last time they were with Indra. That time, they visited the Monster Dungeon to fight some monsters and gain experience in live combat while working on a mission Indra picked.
“It’s strange,” Sumara said.
“What’s strange, Miss Sumara?” Lakshman asked.
“How the weather is cold in the early dawn of morning, but warms up during the middle of the day.”
“Wasn’t the weather always like that?” Ondine asked. “I mean, always changing randomly?”
“It may be, but I don’t believe it is random,” Sumara said. “There must be a pattern to all of this.”
“A pattern?” Lakshaman asked. “You mean… something like a puzzle?”
“No Lucky,” Sumara said as she shook her head. “A puzzle is putting pieces together from their matching elements. A pattern is the recurring events that have similar elements in them.”
“But… isn’t that the same thing as a puzzle?” Lakshman asked tentatively.
Sumara’s eyes widened slightly at his response.
“I mean, with a puzzle we’re looking for matching elements to put them together. Aren’t we doing the same thing with the pattern of the weather?”
Sumara’s eyes slightly widened. Her mouth opened slightly as if she wanted to say something. For a few seconds she remained like this. Finally, she closed her mouth and looked down at her horse.
“I see…” she muttered. Then she looked back at them and said “Now that I give it a thorough thought, it does seem the case. Well done, Lucky. I’m impressed by your deep thought.”
“Thank you, Miss Sumara,” Lakshman said and smiled proudly.
Ondine stared at them before saying “Don’t get full of yourself just because you got something right that Sumara didn’t.”
“I know,” Lakshman said, but he smiled all the same.
Lakshman and Sumara were wearing their usual clothing, but Ondine was wearing the maid outfit. He turned to stare at her clothing and she blinked in surprise.
“What?” she asked.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked.
Correctly guessing what he was talking about, she responded by saying “I am fine. Besides, I somehow feel lighter in these clothes than my usual. Mariana seems to have picked the right choice of clothes for me. I am now able to fight unburdened and unrestrained like my own clothes would.
“I see,” he said and sighed in resignation.
Earlier he had barged into his parents’ room to speak about Ondine’s maid clothes. She wore these clothes intended as her punishment for kicking him when he walked in on her as she was about to take a shower.
“Mum, dad, can I talk to you about something?”
He walked in and saw his parents on bed split from each other’s arms. They made startled noises and turned to look at the entrance to their room.
“What are you doing?” Lakshman asked, puzzled by their actions.
“Ah? Nothing! Nothing at all!” Indra said and he laughed hastily.
“Yes, we were just… um… resting,” Lakshmi said hastily before saying “So… uh… what did you want to talk about?”
It was obvious they were hugging before they separated when the door suddenly banged open. Lakshmi attempted to divert her son’s attention by asking about his question.
The unsuspecting Lakshman simply looked at them curiously before saying “Okay. Well, I wanted to talk about the punishment you gave out to Ondine.”
“Oh, it’s about that,” Lakshmi said. “Well, alright. Let’s talk. So come over and sit on the bed.”
Lakshman walked over and sat on the bed facing his parents. They looked at each other before turning back to face their son.
“Mum, it wasn’t Ondine’s fault,” Lakshman said. “It was my mistake to not check whether the bathroom was under use or not.”
“Ah, I see,” Indra said and he smiled at his son. “That did indeed seem to be the case.”
“Even so, I cannot condone her hurting you just because of that,” Lakshmi said.
Then she turned and spoke to Indra.
“What if he got injuries because of her actions?”
“Lakshmi, she only kicked him in the chest,” Indra said. “He wouldn’t have sustained heavy injuries just from that.”
“You wouldn’t know!” Lakshmi retorted angrily. “He could’ve been bleeding internally from that attack.”
“If that were the case, you can easily heal him,” Indra said.
“Are you saying you don’t care what happens to your own son?!” Lakshmi asked in disbelief. “Are you truly fine if the outcome was something terrible?”
“Oh, stop that will you!” Indra said irritably. “I don’t want to make the situation any worse. Besides, he’s a lot stronger than me at his age. So, I don’t believe he will get badly injured from just that level of attack. Believe me… he is unbelievably stronger than me at his age.”
“Don’t forget, you used to kick me around whenever I accidentally walked in on you changing.”
Lakshmi’s face suddenly became bright red at his words. Lakshman turned to look at this dad in amazement.
“Dad, you used to do that?”
“Well, that was back when we were still kids,” Indra said and he looked like he was reminiscing the past. “I was careless and used to get into a lot of trouble. Your dear mother used to kick me around because of it.”
“W-What are you doing saying such things in front of your son?!” Lakshmi said.
“Oh geez,” Indra said and sighed. “Let’s get back to the point already.”
“What? … Oh… Right…” Lakshmi said as he realised what he meant.
“Look Lucky,” Indra said. “The fault may be on your end, but it was her fault to forget to hang the ‘In-Use’ sign outside the bathroom door.”
“Eh?” Lakshman said sounding surprise. “She did not?”
“No, she did not,” Indra said. “If you don’t believe me, ask the person in question. She is behind you after all.”
“Huh?” Lakshman said and he turned to see Ondine standing behind him. “Oh… Ondine.”
“Tell us, Ondine. Did you or did you not forget to put up the ‘In-Use’ sign on the bathroom door?” he asked.
“… Yes,” Ondine said. “I am sorry that I forgot to put it up.”
“Oh…” Lakshman said.
“There,” Indra said, turning back to Lakshman. “That would explain how you didn’t know the bathroom was occupied.”
“You still didn’t need to kick him,” Lakshmi said crossly. “He is your master after all.”
“Oh? Look who’s talking!” Indra said and turned to Lakshmi. “You used to kick me each time that happened and that was also after we got married! Remember?”
“That’s because, unlike my brilliant son, you were an idiot!” Lakshmi retorted.
“Give me a break!” Indra said and he sighed heavily. Then he turned back to Lakshman and said “I am surprised though, you are concerned about the clothes she wore. Why were you worried when she didn’t particularly mind?”
“I ah… um… well…” Lakshman stammered for words.
“Oh…? What’s this?” Indra said and he smiled cheekily at Lakshman’s stammering. “Don’t tell me… you’ve developed ‘that’ sort of feelings for her?”
“Huh?” Lakshman asked in bewilderment. “What do you mean?”
Lakshmi elbowed Indra in his side and he yelled in pain while patting himself where she hit him. Lakshmi turned back to Lakshman and she wore a smile that somehow had a cold expression mixed along with it.
“My ribs…” he muttered.
“Never mind what this idiot said,” she said.
Then her expression became serious as she looked at Lakshman. He was surprised to face his mother wearing such a serious expression he had never seen before.
“Lucky, the fault might have been yours, but it all started because she forgot to hang up the sign. On top of that, she accidentally attacked you which could have led to serious injuries on your part. So, wearing the maid outfit is a fitting punishment for her.”
“No buts, Lucky,” she said sternly. “I had intended to punish her severely for hurting my one and only son, but Indra convinced me otherwise and I relented. Besides, she has no problems wearing it. Do you, Ondine?”
She aimed the last question at Ondine and Ondine shook her head.
“I humbly accept my punishment,” she said. Then she turned to Lakshman and said “Master, please. This will be enough.”
Lakshman wasn’t convinced by the agreement of the sort that occurred between his mother and his slave spirit. However, he recognised the understanding that took place between them. In any case, he was glad to hear Ondine only received this minor punishment for kicking him.
“Fine, I understand,” he finally said with a sigh.
Remembering those events, he sighed as he rode on his horse. Behind him, Ondine drew closer to him.
“What’s the matter, master?” she asked.
“Oh? It’s nothing really,” he said and he smiled.
They continued to ride on their horses in silence for some time. After a while, Sumara brought her horse to a stop.
“This will do,” Sumara said as she looked around the fields of grass and the trees to their left.
Lakshman brought his horse to a halt. Then he and Ondine jumped down off their horse. Then, he and Sumara brought their horses to the nearest tree and tied them up with ropes. Once done, they patted their horses and gave them an apple each. The horses gratefully ate the apples.
Sumara turned and walked some distance away from the horses and trees. Lakshman and Ondine followed behind. It looked like she was taking safety measures in keeping a distance between themselves and the forest.
“Okay, this will do,” she said a while later.
They stopped at her command. Lakshman was curious, but Ondine was slightly nervous as she hid behind him.
“It looks like we’re in the middle of nowhere,” Ondine said as she looked around.
“Middle of nowhere?” Lakshman asked. “What do you mean by that?”
“Master, just look around for yourself and you’ll see what I mean,” Ondine said.
Looking around, he realised they really were standing in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by fields of grass while the shadows of trees filled the background. It did indeed feel like they were the only ones alive.
“This is the perfect place to do it,” Sumara said in satisfaction.
“Do what, Miss Sumara?” Lakshman asked with a puzzled expression.
Sumara turned and smiled at them. Lakshman thought he saw a hit of excitement in her expression.
“For a sparring match!”