That night, the king held a celebration banquet in the castle hall. This was the victory celebration on defeating the Demon Emperor and sending the demon army back to the Demon Continent. All the nobles and the higher official people attended.
“Um… There’s a lot of people here…” Emilia said faintly.
She was standing behind Lakshman as they just arrived at the castle and they were not alone. Darian, Rumble, Marilia, Ondine and Tetra were also present. They were invited to the banquet. Darian thought it might be impolite to decline at this point, but Wolfenstine did not want to go due to his dislike for such events.
“But I certainly didn’t expect so many people here,” Darian said with a heavy sigh.
“Relax and take it like a knight!” Marilia said with a wink at her husband.
“Easy for you to say. You’re a woman and can mix anywhere. All eyes will be on us men since we need to stand out!” Darian said heavily.
Marilia laughed and turned to look at Rumble. They were all wearing clothes best suited for the occasion which she handpicked for all of them. Even Rumble was wearing a full sleave suit, but for once he did not complain. Instead he was looking eager to go inside.
He made it clear when he said impatient “Come on…! I was to get in and eat beef already!”
“Stop being so impatient!” Marilia told him sternly, but he was very energetic and did not hear her words.
At that moment, a guard was barring the entrance. When they reached him, he asked them “Identify yourself!”
He was speaking to Darian who seemed to become the leader of the group. Darian smiled and said “We were invited by the king, Bernard IV Sargold, to attend this banquet. The Sword King, Monkey King and Phoenix Titan are present with our companions.”
The guard looked at them and nodded. Then he said “I have identified you and you may enter.”
“Thank you,” Lakshman said as he, Darian and Rumble went in first.
At that moment, the guard suddenly extended his hand to stop Marilia and the girls from going in.
“I’m sorry, but only the Sword King, Monkey King and the Phoenix Titan were invited. You may leave now,” the guard told them.
Marilia looked indignant and said “I’m sorry, but I’m the wife of the Sword King!”
Emilia plucked up courage and began to say “W-We’re the sla—!”
Tetra quickly placed her hand over Emilia’s mouth to stop her. Ondine stepped forward and firmly said “We’re the companions of the Phoenix Titan!”
The guard nodded and said “I have heard, but only the invited are allowed in. I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry? Who needs your sorry? We’re their companions and you’re going to just let us be here?” Marilia demanded and she looked at them for help.
“My wife’s right! She’s my wife and they are Phoenix Titan’s companions! They come with us!” Darian said firmly to the guard.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I’ve ordered only to let the invited in,” the guard said crisply.
At that moment, there was a loud voice that said “Ah! There you are!”
They looked around and saw the Phoenix Emperor, Felix, hurrying towards them. When he reached them, his smile faltered at the serious expressions on their faces.
“What’s happening?” he asked them.
“This guard is not letting Marilia and the girls to come in! He’s only letting in us because we were invited and keeps talking about rules!” Darian told him in a frustrated voice.
Felix eyes widened and he nodded in understanding. He looked at the guard and said “I can assure you, the ladies are their companions. Let them in unless you want to be on the end of their wrath…”
At that moment, Rumble was lightly taping his fist against the palm of his other hand. The guard understood and nodded. Then he wordlessly let the girls finally enter.
“Man! We just got here and I’m already half in mind to leave right now!” Darian said irritably.
“Relax…! This sort of thing happens, you know that! It’s the problem with having pompous noblemen!” Felix said and he looked unhappy.
“Ah well! I’m hungry! Where’s the banquet?” Rumble asked before they could say anything else.
Felix laughed and said “Follow me.”
He went on ahead and they followed him. As they walked, Lakshman looked around at how big the castle was. He had once been in a castle at Rodfox Kingdom, but this was very different to that castle. The designs, the structures and how it was built made clearly distinguished it from the others.
After walking for a minute, they finally arrived at the large door. He pushed it open and they immediately smelled something exuberating. Darian and Marilia instantly grabbed Rumble’s arms to make sure he does not run off and start eating like a wild monkey.
When they walked in, Lakshman was astonished. High above them, crystals were floating which were emitting light and shone the whole place. The walls were high and so were the windows the left, the right and at the front. Light was also appearing from the crystal lights placed on brackets.
Then he looked at the table. A very long one table had seats on either sides of the table. On the table were rows and rows of delicious smelling food. More and more food was being brought in from side doors on wheeled trays.
As they walked, Lakshman noticed that there were a lot of people present. They were seated on the table and talked to each other which caused the noise level to be very high.
“We’ll sit here!” Darian said once they reached the end of the table.
“You sure? There’s still a lot of room, you know?” Felix asked curiously.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to have to talk to people while I’m here…” Darian said and Felix understood.
They began to sit down on the seats. Darian was holding the now energetic Rumble from reaching for the nearest food. Once the girls sat down, Lakshman was about to sit down, but Felix suddenly grabbed him.
“You’re sitting at the front with me!” Felix told him brightly.
“Eh?” Lakshman said and he looked surprised.
“Sorry girls, but he needs to be with us!” Felix said he began pulling on Lakshman’s arm.
As he was led away, Lakshman looked back helplessly and said “I-I’ll see you girls later!”
“M-Master?” Ondine and Emilia said together and they looked surprised to see Felix leading him to the front.
They hesitated for a moment before rose to their feet. When they were about to follow him, Tetra suddenly said “Stop, you two! You can’t go there…”
“Eh? Why not?” Ondine asked curiously as she and Emilia sat back down.
“That’s just the kind of world he’s entered…” Tetra said and she looked unhappy.
When they continued to look puzzled, she pointed to where Lakshman sat down. They turned their heads and looked at the front. Lakshman was seated next to the king, queen and princess Venezuela. Along with them were seated several other nobles as they engaged in speaking to him.
Watching that from afar, the girls suddenly felt disconnected. The world that they lived in and the world he now lived in was not the same anymore.
“T-They’re all trying to talk to him so importantly…” Emilia said slowly and Ondine nodded in agreement.
Tetra sighed and said “That’s right. Master is the Phoenix Titan and, as such, is the most powerful warrior in the world! Naturally the nobles want him to support them in the future and such things.”
“I see… He’s going higher and higher through the ranks while we’ll remain in the same low class rank…” Emilia muttered and she looked unhappy.
Looking at how happily Lakshman was talking, they suddenly felt really lonely. It also made them realise how different the world apart they are even though they were in the same room.
Several minutes later, the king stood up and everyone went silent. Then he said “Today is a wonderful day in history marked by the appearance of the new Phoenix Titan! Eight-thousand years have passed without any sign of his return, but not anymore! Now here he is, sitting amongst us and eating with us! All hail the Phoenix Titan!”
As he raised his glass, the crowd of people raised their glasses and shouted “Hail!” then they began drinking from their glasses.
“And, with that, I order the procession to dig in!” the king said and there was a round of applause.
“NOM!” Rumble said loudly.
He began piling his plate with everything he could reach. Then he began eating the food with great gusto.
“Idiot! Don’t eat like a pig!” Darian told him sternly.
“Pig? Wat o u ean? Ia monky, rembr?” Rumble said through a mouthful.
“Ugh… Yes… We know, monkey brain! Just don’t talk with your mouth full!” Darian said in annoyance as he and the rest of them began eating.
For almost half-an-hour, everyone ate the food that they could from the tables. Meanwhile, they kept engaging in conversation with Lakshman. Ondine, Tetra and Emilia watched from the far end sulkily. He was smiling as he cheerfully talked to people and this made them feel sad.
Afterwards, all the remainder of food suddenly got sucked to the end of the table. A man was standing there using a Gravity Magic Spell to pull all the plates in and then carefully making them land nearly in a pile inside a big box. Then he walked away and another man arrived began spreading the plates along the table. Once he was done, he bowed and left with the wheeled trays.
“Dessert!” Rumble exclaimed happily and took a cream tart and swallowed it in one go. Then he licked his tongue and said “Delicious!”
Ondine, Tetra and Emilia looked at each other with unhappy faced. Then they all said “I don’t feel so good to eat dessert right now…”
After fifteen minutes, the desserts were also sucked away by the man from before. Then he wheeled the box away from the room through a door at the side.
Then the king rose to his feet and said “Now it is time to enjoy some wonderful ball dance!”
Speaking in voices of excitement, everyone got to their feet. Then they followed the king and queen through a side door on the opposite side. After a minute of walking, they arrived in a very large hall which was lit by the floating crystal lights from high above and brackets.
Everyone gathered around while drinking from glasses. They watched as the king and queen began to dance first. They were soon followed by Felix and Rasha, his wife and the third pair was Lakshman and Venezuela.
Lakshman did not know how to dance well, but Venezuela was patient with him. He stumbled a few times and accidentally stepped wrongly which caused the people around to laugh. This caused Ondine, Tetra and Emilia to smile for the first time since coming there. They watched him from the back of the crowd as the dance floor soon began getting more and more dancers.
“Do you know how to dance, Tetra?” Ondine asked curiously.
Tetra looked surprise at her question. Then she nodded and said “I often went as my previous master’s partner to attend such events.”
“I see…” Ondine said and looked unhappy.
Finally free, Lakshman pushed his way towards them while smiling happily. Then he saw their unhappy expression and asked “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Ondine said flatly as she sipped on a glass of water.
“Oh…” Lakshman said shortly. Then, feeling suspicious, he said “I think there’s something bothering you.”
“Like we said, it’s nothing!” Ondine said more firmly.
“Yes, you did, but your faces aren’t reflecting it!” Lakshman said as he indicated at their faces.
“Oh really? I’m sorry, but I’m born with this face, master!” Ondine said ecstatically.
“What’s bugging you girls?” Lakshman asked them.
At that moment, Lakshman felt a tap from on his shoulder. Looking around, he was surprised to see Venezuela standing there.
“Princess Venezuela! Is there something that you need?” Lakshman asked curiously.
Venezuela nodded and lightly asked “May I borrow you for a while?”
“Um…” Lakshman began and hesitated. He looked at Ondine, Tetra and Emilia, but they averted their eyes. He sighed and turned back and smiled before he said “Sure!”
Venezuela’s eyes widened in happiness and she said “This way…”
She began walking ahead and he followed her. Ondine, Tetra and Emilia watched them go sulkily.
“He didn’t even bother to ask us he it was okay for him to go…!” Ondine said unhappily.
“He didn’t check at all if we were okay with it…!” Tetra said with a sad expression on her face,
Emilia did not say anything, but the expression on her face seemed to agree with Ondine and Tetra.
Venezuela led Lakshman and people parted to give them way. They arrived at a table with two seats in place. Once they sat down, a waiter arrived to take their order. Venezuela ordered for a simple juice and Lakshman ordered the same.
Once the waiter left, Venezuela asked “How is the banquet? Did you enjoy it?”
Lakshman smiled widely and said “Oh yes! I certainly did enjoy the food. It was delicious! The people were also great! They were friendly to someone who’s new to all this. So I’m quite happy!”
“I see. That’s good to hear,” Venezuela said and she smiled at him. Then she asked “When did you become the Phoenix Titan or became aware of it?”
“I only recently discovered it through Felix. It seems I missed a lot of signs earlier because of how hard I was training and all.”
“Of course! Being a strong and tough warrior means you train as hard as you can!”
The waiter returned with their drinks. Taking them, the waited wished them a pleasant drink and left. For a few minutes, the two of them just sat there and drank from the glasses in silence.
Lakshman turned to look in the direction where Ondine, Tetra and Emilia were. He found them standing near a group of ladies and they were laughing. Lakshman thought they were talking to them, but suddenly realised Ondine, Tetra and Emilia hung their head and walked away, looking depressed.
Just then, Venezuela asked him “What are you parents like?”
“My parents?” Lakshman turned around and asked. When she nodded, he smiled and said “Well… My mum’s soft and loving while dad’s fun and crazy!”
Venezuela laughed and said “That’s quite the combo.”
Lakshman chuckled and said “That’s right! They would often argue and all, but they seem to love each other very much! One time, when mum got very annoyed, she blasted dad out of the house!”
Venezuela’s eyes widened in amazement and she said “Really? Wow! Your mother must be really strong!”
“I’m sure she is, but seems to hide it a lot of times. Dad seems to never go against her decisions!”
Venezuela laughed and said “Your parents are quite the couple. I never see my parents arguing, but again… they might not be showing it…”
Lakshman was surprised to see Venezuela suddenly looking unhappy. Then he heard the people around them mutter to themselves.
“Look! The princess is looking so concerned.”
“Yes. She’s worried about our kingdom’s future.”
“Ah. Just like her marvelous father.”
“Eh…?” Lakshman thought.
He could not believe the misinterpretation the people around were having. Clearly Venezuela was looking unhappy, but the people were thinking she was worried. He did not understand how they came to think like that.
While he was thinking about that, he suddenly sensed unhappiness. Ever since the Dark Spirit incident, he had learnt to focus his energy and feel the presence of unhappiness. He turned in the direction it was emitting from and was surprised to see Emilia standing there.
“What’s going on?” Lakshman muttered under his breath.
He watched as several nobleman talked to her before laughing. Emilia was looking very unhappy and stepped back. At that moment, Ondine stepped in and began talking to them with a serious expression on her face. Then the noblemen looking surprised before letting out a roar of laughter.
“What else do your parents go?” Venezuela suddenly asked him.
He looked at her distractedly and said “Ah? Oh… Well… Recently I’ve found out that my mum gave birth to twin sisters…”
“Oh really? Congratulations!” Venezuela said cheerfully.
“T-Thank you…” Lakshman said and he turned back to look towards his companions.
There were six noblemen and they all had arrogant expressions on their faces. They seemed to be talking brashly to Ondine and Emilia. At that moment, Tetra came and tried to talk, but it seemed like they ignored her. Easily pushing her aside, they moved towards Ondine and Emilia.
“What are your plans now that you’ve become the Phoenix Titan?” Venezuela asked him curiously.
“Ah…? Uh… Um…” Lakshman said distractedly looking between her and where Ondine and Emilia were. Then he sighed, placed his hand on the table and said “Before I deal with that, I have a slight problem I have to go take care of first. So if you could excuse me…”
He rose to his feet and Venezuela suddenly gasped as he moved away. She suddenly saw his hair flash gold and his eyes switch back and forth from crown shaped. She did not know yet that Lakshman’s anxiousness caused his power to suddenly spike.
Lakshman headed towards the nobleman and heard them say “Come on, ladies… Two beauties should hang out with us…!”
“No! Now get away from us!” he heard Ondine reply angrily.
When he reached then, Lakshman asked “What’s going on?”
“Ah! Lakshman! We’re telling these girls to hang out with us, but they wouldn’t list,” the man at the front said to him.
“Master! These people are harassing Emilia! I told them to back off, but they keep talking rudely to us!” Ondine told him as she glared angrily at the noblemen.
The noblemen looked surprised and said “Master? Wait… Lakshman is your master? Does that mean you girls are his slaves…?”
The word quickly spread amongst them and they looked alarmed.
“No thanks! I don’t want to do it with a slave!”
“Yeah! Slaves are just permanent waste!”
“Tools should be tools! I don’t want this!”
The man in front looked unhappy and said “Seriously you guys are stupid! These slaves are in pure condition or are you so blind you didn’t notice?!”
Then he looked at Lakshman and said “So sorry about that, but my friends are a little stupid.” Then he looked at the girls and asked “Hey, Lakshman… How about you lend them to us tonight? We’ll make sure to keep them company and return them tomorrow.”
The way he was speaking was as if he treated Ondine and Emilia as items. Realizing this, Ondine got very angry and Emilia became very scared, but was also angry.
As Lakshman remained silent while looking at them, the man nodded. Apparently, he took Lakshman’s silence to mean that he agreed. So, with a lustful expression on his face, he moved forward and extended his hand out.
“M-Master?” Emilia said and she looked at him in disbelief.
She could not believe the man whom she loves was about to abandon her. She became very scared and tears began to drip down her face.
“Ah… No need to cry! We’ll be gentle, I swear!” the nobleman said gently, but Emilia backed away.
Just then, his outstretched arm was sudden grabbed by Lakshman. The nobleman looked confused as to why he was touching him. In that instant, Lakshman angrily looked at him and swirled him around until he had a lock on his arm.
The man moaned painful as he felt his arm get pulled painfully. Then Lakshman hit the man’s chest with his fist and knocked him to the ground. With a heavy impact, the nobleman was knocked out and lay silently on the ground.
Lakshman looked up at the other noblemen and said “These girls are very important to me! How dare you treat them like toys?!”
The noblemen looked stunned for a moment. Then they became angry and came at him with this fists raised. Lakshman lifted his right hand and held his forefinger up. Then he moved forward and started whacking it on top of each of the noblemen’s’ heads.
One by one, the nobleman were knocked out and fell limply to the ground. The people all around stopped what they were doing and turned to watch. They were shocked to see six noblemen lying on the ground unconscious at Lakshman’s feet.
Then Lakshman said in a carrying voice “Anyone who dares to look down my comrades… I will show them hell!”
As he spoke, the watching people winced by his powerful voice. He waved his forefinger in the air threateningly while looking around them. Then he grabbed Ondine and Emilia by the hand and began to walk away.
“Tetra! We’re leaving!” Lakshman shouted and Tetra quickly followed them.
No one stopped him leave through the doors. Walking quickly, they soon reached the entrance.
Two guards came forward and said “Halt!”
In a loud voice, Lakshman bellowed “GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!”
Shocked by the force of his powerful voice, the two guards quickly backed away and let them leave through the entrance. It was really dark outside and walking became difficult. He realized he will not be able to navigate towards the hotel room like that.
“Tetra, jump on my back!” Lakshman said firmly.
“Y-Yes, master!” Tetra said quickly and she walked up to him and hugged his bag when he knelt down.
Once she was on, he got up and put his arms around and held onto Ondine and Emilia’s sides which surprised them. Then he said “Hold on tight!”
He kicked off the ground and flew into the air to their surprise. That was Ondine’s and Emilia’s first time flying with him. They looked down and saw that everything was really small from high up in the sky.
Ondine looked at Lakshman and asked “Master… Why did you do that back there?”
Emilia nodded at her question and said “Yes! They might dislike you and will probably never speak to you again!”
Lakshman snorted and said “So what? I’m not going to miss their company! You girls are more important to me than those people and that also includes Felix and the others!”
At hearing his passionate voice when he said that, the girls blushed. They suddenly felt much happier than before. Then Ondine and Emilia hugged him from the side while Tetra hugged him from behind.
“You are also important to us, master!” the three of them said together.
Lakshman chuckled as they flew towards their hotel room, feeling happier than ever before.