Lakshman was diving deep into his mind. He did not know where he was or what he was doing. All he knew was he felt his body sinking deep into darkness.
At that moment, he suddenly heard a familiar voice say “Well, well, well! Look who it is!”
“Decisive Player…” Lakshman said weakly.
“So what brings you here? Perhaps you felt lonely and came to see me? Maybe you wanted to know more about me? I know I’m not that interesting because of being serious and all, but you should still pay attention! I am the Decisive Player and you are the Innocent Player!”
“What? Why are giving me silent treatment?”
“Come on! Say something because your silence is becoming painful to bear!”
Lakshman sighed and wearily said “Hello…”
The Decisive Player suddenly got annoyed and said “That’s really rude way to greet someone! Put some energy into it or you’ll sound like an old woman!”
“Look who’s being rude now…”
“I’m allowed to be rude! I’m the Decisive Player! Mess with me and you’re going to be history!”
“Talking big, but you’re pretty lonely, right?”
“Tsk! You’ve gotten pretty nasty with the way you speak to me now! What’s caused this change I wonder…? Hmm… I know! Too much protein! I should really tell Marilia to cut down on it!”
Lakshman sighed and asked “So why am I hearing your voice right now?”
“Hey! Why does it sound like you’re unhappy to hear from me?!”
“Because every time I heard you, it’s always about lecturing me! You’re worse than my mum!”
“Oh really…? Then maybe you’ll think of respecting your mother more because she’s nice enough to leave you alone! Most parents want to stick their noses in everything their children do! You should be glad your parents aren’t control freaks!”
“Right, right…” Lakshman said before sighing. Then he asked “Now why am I here?”
“Why you’re here? Don’t you know why or are you asking me why?” the Decisive Player asked in a confused voice.
“That’s why I’m asking you…”
“Oh! Do you really want to know why?”
Mmm… On second thought, no. I’m going to sleep. Goodbye.”
“Ah! Stop, stop! If you sleep now, a lot of bad things will happen!”
Lakshman was surprised by the urgency in his voice and asked “Bad things? Like what?”
The Decisive Player got angry and said “Seriously?! Did you forget already what happened?!”
Lakshman thought about the Decisive Player’s words. Then he remembered back to the recent events. He remembered fighting the Demon Emperor and then getting totally destroyed by the Death Ball.
“Oh yeah… I got destroyed by that Death Ball…”
“Not destroyed! Just beaten and broken! Right now, on the Physical Plane, you’re unconscious and bleeding! Your comrades are trying their best to quickly stop the bleeding before you bleed to death!” the Decisive Player informed him.
“What’s that got to do with me? I’m beaten and broken. There’s nothing else I can do now. So I’ll just leave it to Felix to sort the matters out,” Lakshman said casually.
“Gah! This is why you’re the Innocent Player! Always giving up as soon as you get yourself beaten up! Learn to be resilient and persistent!” the Decisive Player said severely.
“Why are you telling me this? Actually, why are you worried? Felix is the Phoenix Emperor and is far stronger than me as I am right now! He can do it, no problems!”
“That’s where the problem is! Felix is right now struggling to put up a fight against the Demon Emperor!”
“What? How do you know this?”
“See for yourself! Vision Sense!”
In an instant, Lakshman’s view changed. He was standing on the ground. Then he noticed that his body was transparent while everyone had solid bodies. Then dust got risen into the air as someone landed meters away.
Lakshman turned around and saw that it was Felix, however something was wrong. He was bleeding from his nose, mouth and other parts of his body. There was also bruises and cuts across his body as he panted to regain his breath.
“Felix!” Lakshman called to him and rushed over to him.
Felix ran towards him and he thought he saw him. Then, to his shock, Felix ran right thorough him as if he was not there to begin with. This startled Lakshman and became confused. Then he turned and saw someone, looking like him and transparent, standing there with a smile on their face.
“What’s going on, Decisive Player?” Lakshman asked him as he correctly knew who it was.
“This is Vision Sense. We are seeing things from the world’s perspective!” the Decisive Player explained to him.
“Wow! Will you teach me?!” Lakshman asked eagerly.
The Decisive Player clicked his tongue. Then he pointed his finger in a direction and said “Look over there.”
Lakshman turned to see in the direction he was pointing. There he saw Felix and Halquza, the Demon Emperor, fighting furiously. The speed of their battle was intense which could not be caught by normal eyes. Even Lakshman struggled to follow their movement even with all his training.
“They’re moving so fast! They look like they’re moving from one place to another in a blink of an eye!” Lakshman said in awe as he watched Felix fire some energy attacks which got diverted away.
“That’s not the point! Watch the fight closely and you’ll see what I mean!” the Decisive Player said sternly.
Lakshman observed the battle closely. He was really amazed at how fast Felix could move. That was when he realised Felix had been going easy on him all this time. He probably thought Lakshman was not ready for the intensive training of an Emperor or Titan ranked warriors.
“Ah!” Lakshman said and he suddenly realised something wrong.
Felix and Halquza were fighting really fast and their blows caused shockwaves to go everywhere. Yet, Felix did not once hit Halquza. As they watched, Felix continued to fight with all his might, but his attacks got blocked, dodged or, in some cases, reflected back at him.
“What the heck?! Felix can’t hit him?!” Lakshman exclaimed in a shocked voice.
“That’s right. Felix can’t even land a single blow on him. That’s how fast the Demon Emperor, Halquza, is moving at!”
“How’s that possible?! The Phoenix Emperor is supposed to be far stronger than the Demon Emperor! Everyone’s said that and I’ve also read about it in the textbooks of Magic and Sword!”
“Yes, but the Demon Emperor has amassed a great load of darkness and is using it to his advantage!”
“What? He’s collecting darkness? What do you mean?”
“Darkness is neither good nor bad. It’s the neutral ground where one lives in. However… When that darkness becomes corrupted, it becomes Twisted Darkness. The Demon Emperor is currently drawing his power from all the Twisted Darkness due to so much chaos and upheaval!”
“Eh?! Then can’t Felix draw his energy from the light? I mean… Isn’t the Phoenix supposed to be the symbol of light and hope?”
The Decisive Player nodded and said “That’s right, but right now the Phoenix is refusing to bless the Phoenix Clan. There is too much corruption and twistedness around for it to grant that power boost.”
“T-Then what are we supposed to do?!” Lakshman asked in desperation.
“Yes… What are we supposed to do indeed…” the Decisive Player said slowly.
At that moment, the scene began to changing rapidly. They were moving to somewhere which startled Lakshman. Then, before he could ask about it, the swirling scenery stopped.
Lakshman was shocked to suddenly find himself standing centimetres away from where his body was lying on the ground. Sitting next to him and crying was Emilia while Tetra patting her gingerly. Lakshman saw the blood coming out of his body and how torn clothes were used to wrap him up.
“They ripped their clothes to try and stop your bleeding…” the Decisive Player told him grimly.
At that moment, Emilia shouted “What are we supposed to do?! Master’s down, Ondine is nowhere and everyone is struggling to win this battle! What are we supposed to do?!”
Seeing her crying, Lakshman got annoyed and said “Emilia! Stop crying! Stop it! It’s making me feel like I’m really going to die!”
“Master saved my life twice! I owe my life to him, but he promised me he will protect me with his life! If he dies like this because of that, what am I supposed to do?! I won’t have anyone anymore! I-I’ll be all alone again…!”
At that moment, Tetra hugged her as Emilia said while crying “Master…! Master…!”
“It’s okay, Emilia. Master’s never let us down before! He’ll find a way to help us! I know he can!” Tetra said confidently as she patted Emilia softly on the head while tears formed in her eyes.
Seeing Tetra trying to support Emilia while trying to stay strong stung Lakshman in the heart. He collapsed to his knees and tried to hug the girls only to pass right through them.
“You can’t touch them… This is the view of the world…”
Lakshman began to tremble and then looked angrily up at the Decisive Player.
“It’s like the world is just staring and laughing! It’s like it’s just observing and not caring! IT’s like it’s just—!”
“Unable to do anything, but watch…” the Decisive Player said in a sad voice and he wore a sad expression on his face.
“You’re right. All the world could do is watch, sustain, grow and destroy. Other than that, it cannot do anything else. You can’t blame it because it’s our choice to make the difference! As living creatures, we have the control of how to manipulate how things, events and history is made! All the world can do is bear witness.”
Lakshman was amazed at the words the Decisive Player spoke. Then he quietly nodded as he understood the meaning behind it. The world can only watch, grow and destroy. It was the inhabitants of that world that change how the world is operated. Which finally brought him to a finality.
“So things can change because of the choices each and everyone makes, including me…” Lakshman said slowly.
“That’s right. It’s the choice of the Demon Emperor that brought this destruction to your world. It’s the Phoenix Emperor’s choice to protect this world by risking his life,” the Decisive Player said. Then he paused for moment as he looked at him. Then he smiled and asked “What will your choice be?’
Lakshman did not immediately answer. He was looking at the girls crying over his beaten and broken unconscious body. He wanted to see them smiling again, he wanted to see everyone happy once again and he wanted to teach that Demon Emperor a lesson in hell.
“I want to protect the peace of this world and beat the hell out of anyone stupid enough to hurt it!” Lakshman said firmly.
The Decisive Player nodded in satisfaction and asked “How will you achieve it?”
“I… I’m the Phoenix Titan! There has to be a way for me to achieve this!”
The Decisive Player’s eyes widened in surprise. Then, as he laughed, Lakshman asked “What?”
The Decisive Player became normal and said “You say you’re the Phoenix Titan, but do you know anything about him? Do you know the true extent of his powers? Do you even know the fact that the first Phoenix Titan challenged the gods and payed the price with his life to achieve his divine powers?”
Lakshman shook his head slowly. Then his eyes widened and he looked at the Decisive Player with a shocked expression on his face.
“The first Phoenix Titan challenged the gods?!” Lakshman asked in disbelief.
The Decisive Player nodded and said “That’s right! He challenged the gods and achieved his divine powers by paying the price with his life! It’s also why the Phoenix Clan, who were just normal humans, possess the powers of the Phoenix and can life for almost two-hundred years?”
Then he smiled and said “The Phoenix Titan did a lot of things and many of them have been hidden by time. It is also what gave him the power to reincarnate over and over again. Though that reincarnating cycle, you finally came!”
“Wow…!” Lakshman said in awe at learning how amazing the Phoenix Titan was. Then he suddenly realised and asked “But I don’t have that divine powers… My power’s sealed!”
“Then go and break the seals!”
Lakshman looked alarmed at the thought and asked “M-Me… Destroy the… seals?!”
The Decisive Player shrugged his shoulders and said “Why not? You want to unlock your powers, right?”
He looked shocked at such a mind-blowing suggestion. Then grin spread across his face and he asked “How do I do it?”
The Decisive Player smiled and said “First, we’ll need to return!”
He clicked his fingers and the scene suddenly changed. They returned to the darkness once again. It was pitch black for a moment, but it was suddenly broken when a bright light shone from high above. Lakshman turned to see where it was shining and saw, to his surprise, the sleeping form of his body.
His body was lying down on top of a bed with its eyes closed. The body was wearing his usual clothes which he did not want to question why. Two sets of chains were wrapping the arms and legs while his hands were placed on top of each other on his chest.
“W-What the heck is this?” Lakshman asked the Decisive Player as they walked closer to the body.
“This is the centre of your mind or the core of your power if you will. These chains wrapped around are the two remaining seals,” the Decisive Player explained to him.
“Oh! So that’s why everything is always so dark because the Power Core was sealed!” Lakshman said and the Decisive Player nodded at him.
Lakshman looked at his sleeping form and chuckled. He had not realised just how handsome he because he never bothered to look at himself in the mirror. He shook his head to clear away the unnecessary thoughts and went to touch the chains.
“Good luck,” the Decisive Player wished him with a smile of encouragement.
Lakshman stopped and turned to look at him quizzically. Then he asked “Aren’t you going to help me?”
The Decisive Play opened his arms out and said “I’m just someone who gives guidance. It’s your choice to take action on it.” Then he pointed at it and said “It’s your choice to break the seal.”
“Oh… You’re right. It’s my choice so I‘ll have to carry it out!” Lakshman said and he smiled energetically. Then he said “Maybe I should destroy both seals while I’m at it!”
At that moment, the Decisive Player suddenly said “No!”
Lakshman looked at him in confused as he said “Don’t break the last seal just yet. Leave it for when you desperately need to break it.”
“Why? Won’t I obtain the full might of the Phoenix Titan if I break it right now?
The Decisive Player slowly nodded and said “Yes, you will. You will obtain all the special skills, strengths and abilities the Phoenix Titan possess. However, something bad will happen if that seal it broken. So break it only when you no longer have any choice, okay?”
Lakshman wanted to break the seal, but seeing the nervousness the Decisive Player made him think otherwise. The Decisive Player was always strong and powerful whenever he spoke, but he suddenly sounded very worried about the last seal.
Lakshman decided to leave the last seal alone and touched the second last seal which was lying on top of the last seal. He turned to look at the Decisive Player and saw that he was smiling at him. This meant that he picked the right seal because he did not know if he picked the right one or not.
At that moment, the chain in his hands suddenly started to glow red. Then Lakshman began yelling as the chains became very hot in his hands.
He was about to drop them when the Decisive Player said “Don’t drop it! The seal has activated its self-defence! Now pull it as hard as you can to break it!”
“S-Seriously?! It’s so damn hot to hold!” Lakshman wailed as his hand sizzled.
The Decisive Player sighed and said “If you don’t endue this much, you’ll never be able to protect or save anyone!”
At those words, Lakshman suddenly realised what he meant. The Demon Emperor was going around causing chaos and he was whining about how hot a chain was. He felt embarrassed at his stupidity.
Ignoring the pain, he gripped the chain with both his hands and pulled. The chain was tightly wrapped around his sleeping form. The metallic chain was really tough to break and it did not help when the heat was so painful to stop himself from crying out in pain.
Lakshman did not know how long it had been since he began break the chain. He could have sworn it had been more than an hour already or longer. The pain was causing his senses to go out of whack which he did not know at that time.
At that moment, the Decisive Player said “If you don’t hurry, you’ll never be able to protect anyone. If you don’t quickly break the seal, you will never obtain the power to use it for anyone. If you don’t speed up, you will lose everyone related to you.”
“Gah! It’s easier said done to break this thing when it’s paining my hands!” Lakshman yelled angrily.
The Decisive Player sighed and said “Imagine what it would feel like to lose their lives at the hands of the Demon Emperor!”
“What?!” Lakshman exclaimed in shock.
“The Demon Emperor will kill your comrades and destroy the entire Floria region. Then he will moved down the map and destroy ant settle he gets to. He will eventually reach the Rodfox region and will destroy it utterly. Your mother, father and your newly born baby sisters will all die.”
Lakshman’s eyes widened in shock. He could vividly imagine what it would be like if that happened. Then the Decisive Player said “Will you let your baby sisters die before they could experience the world?”
“I won’t let that happen!” Lakshman yelled and he began to exert his power as he pulled at the chain.
“UUURRRAAAGGGHHHH!!!” he screamed because of the effort he was putting.
His hands were turning red and the skin began to peel off, however he did not feel the pain anymore. He did not care about the pain and he did not care about his skin getting peeled off due to the heat.
“I…. will… save… everyone…!” he said slowly as the chain slowly began to loosen.
Seeing this, the Decisive Player nodded and said “That’s right! You will save everyone because that is your destiny! Your choice to keep peace and order is the right path for someone like you! Your destiny is to lead everyone to victory because it is you!”
“I… won’t… give… up…!”
“Yes! Never give up or surrender! There is no need to when the gods themselves are on your side! The very nature is your ally and all enemies will fall before you because of your unstoppable might!”
The chain began to loosen with each effort. Lakshman began to feel a strange sensation, but it did not feel bad. Rather, it felt nostalgic as though it was something he had felt a long time ago.
“GAAAAAAAAA!!! I won’t lose!!!”
“You won’t lose! You just can’t! Destiny is on your side! Fate is on your side! The world itself is on your side because… you are…!”
At that moment, the chain began to loosen and come free as they shouted, in resounding voices, “THE PHOENIX TITAN!!!”
Lakshman had his eyes closed as he suddenly felt an immeasurable surge of power like none other. He felt the power surging through him which caused him to open his eyes in a flash.
His eyes have changed. There was a single black dot in the centre and two triangles on top and bottom. Two other triangles on either side of the top extended out to form a crown like shape.
There was a sudden flash of light and everything became white as the two of them disappeared and the power was unleashed.