It was morning time where the chirruping noise of the birds could be heard. The sounds of the morning echoed in the early morning. These sounds went rang through the open window of a room on a two story building.
It was a spacious room with things lying everywhere. A desk and chair faced the wall near the windows which were closed. The light of morning streamed through the curtains and they swished by the cool wind.
In the side of the wall was a bed with a bunch of blankets. There was a person sleeping underneath the four layers of blankets. Beside the bed there stood a table with a Crystal Clock. Light was glowing in three of the crystals embedded into it which read seven-fifteen in the morning.
The person moaned a little and moved around underneath the blankets. Then they slowly sat up and stretched their arms out while yawning hugely. Then they pulled the blankets down to reveal who the person was.
The person had a handsome youthful face, but it was currently a sleeping face. He looked towards the windows with half-open eyes. Then he yawned again before looking at his bedside bed side table. He checked the time the Crystal Clock was showing and then his eyes widened in shock.
“Crap! Seven-fifteen! I’m late!” he said and, with great skill, he jumped out of bed and landed on his feet.
Just as he was about to head towards the door, he suddenly remembered something. He turned around saw how crumbled the bed looked.
“If I don’t do the bed, mum will get annoyed at me!” he said with a sigh. Then he said “Infinity Step!”
Then he dashed around while tucking straightening the bedsheets, tucking them in the corners and straightened the pillow. He did it all at a superfast speed and he looked at the Crystal Clock and smiled.
“Good! Under five seconds!” he said in satisfaction.
Then he turned around, opened the door and walked out before closing the door behind. Then he headed towards the steps and jumped down in a great hurry. He landed on the middle landing and jumped again to the bottom landing.
At that moment, a woman appeared in front of him carrying a basket full of clothes. The woman turned and was startled to see him flying directly at him.
He quickly reacted and said “Pass Through!”
In a surprising move, he passed right through as if there was no solid contact.
“Be careful, young master!” the woman said sternly.
Once he landed, he swirled around and apologetically said “I’m sorry, but I’m late!”
He turned around and dashed to the front of the house and quickly put his shoes on. Then he opened the front door and stepped into the cold wind that was blowing outside.
The first thing he noticed was a person wearing thick layered clothes. He also noticed the person was also wearing insulated boots. This was all to keep themselves warm from the cold weather.
Upon hearing the sound of closing door and footsteps, the person looked over and scowled.
“You’re late!” the person said to him in annoyance.
“Sorry, Stuart, but I sort of felt pretty sleepy. You know… its winter and all,” he said apologetically.
“You’re right, but still… To keep your friend waiting like this is such bad manners! Next time you do this, I might decide not to train with you!” Stuart said in an annoyed voice.
He shrugged his shoulders at his friend’s words and said “Anyway. Let’s start the training like usual.”
With a nod at each other, they walked to the front gates leading to the house. At present, they were open because Stuart had opened to come in earlier. Then they walked onto the road and took running stances.
“I’ll beat you today, Lucky!” Stuart said and he flashed a grin at his friend.
“In your dreams, Stuart!” Lakshman said and he grinned back. Then he began the countdown by saying “Ready… Set… Run!”
He yelled the last word and both boys took off with strong force. Both kicked off the ground with tremendous force and rocketed ahead. With legs moving as hard as possible, Lakshman and Stuart disappeared into the distance in a matter of seconds.
Three years had passed in a blink of an eye. Lakshman had grown really tall and handsome. He was currently performing his regular training session with Stuart at seven in the mornings. It was mid-winter and the ground was covered in snow. That day was also an important day which Lakshman was unaware of.
Lakshman and Stuart soon reached the edge of town. It was bustling busily with people going around and going to work so early in the morning.
The towns’ people saw the two boys running towards them and began to cheer. They were used to seeing them run there and go back to Lakshman’s home as their morning warmup exercise. So the boys usually waved while smiling the best they could while running at full tilt.
The boys touched the ground. Then they turned around and ran back as fast they could. They were really pushing themselves to beat each other even though it was just for training.
As they crossed the front of the gates, both shouted “AAAH!!!”
They came to a stop and breathed quickly. Stuart bent over and clutched his knees as his breathing was a little rough. Lakshman was also breathing roughly, but he was able to quickly cool down.
“Ha… Ha…. Looks like another draw…!” Lakshman said and he sounded sad.
Stuart clicked his tongue and said “Yes, it was, but don’t be happy. It’s eighty to eighty-one for now, but don’t feel too happy! I’ll get my win back very soon, you just wait!”
Lakshman laughed and said “Better luck next time then!”
“You got that right!” Stuart said firmly and they grinned at each other.
A few second slater, the two picked up a wooden sword each and began sparing. They were not using energy to make their wooden sword strong or using magic for an advantage. It was a simple training exercise to improve their strength and how they fought with the sword.
After a while of sparring against each other, the two began to tire out. Both Lakshman and Stuart had been fighting at incredible speeds without rest. At a guess, they would have been fighting for longer than thirty minutes nonstop.
Feeling tired, the two of them stopped fighting and breathed very quickly. They put the swords away and moved to sit on the stairs leading into Lakshman’s house. For a while, they just sat there in silence as their breathing returned to normal.
“By the way…” Stuart began to say.
“Hmm?” Lakshman said and he looked at his friend.
Stuart turned to him, pointed at Lakshman’s clothes and said “Why do you keep wearing light clothes, dammit? It’s winter! Wear some winter clothes like me!”
Lakshman looked surprised at his friend’s words. Then he sighed and said “Seriously? How many times has it been you said this time over and over again to me?”
Stuart looked determined as he said “I don’t care! Now tell me why do you keep on wearing those clothes? Don’t you feel the cold at all?”
Lakshman shook his head and said “Nope. I don’t feel the cold at all. It’s pretty normal to be honest.”
Stuart gawked at his friend’s words. Then he quickly shook his head to clear his mind before asked “You trained in the Gravity Chamber, right?”
“And it had the effect of changing weather from super-hot to ridiculous cold, right?”
“Then tell me what’s the difference between normal weather and weather of the chamber?!”
Lakshman sighed and said “Sevedant, the Death Titan, told me how the weather inside the Gravity Chamber fluctuates wildly. Sometimes I felt like my body would boil up and other times I thought I was going to freeze to death! It was so crazy I thought I might die training at thousand times gravity!”
Stuart shook his head and said “I don’t understand your body at all…”
Lakshman raised his eyebrow at him and said “You don’t understand my body? I don’t understand my body at all! It’s like I have high resistance to normal weather, but when it’s turned up, I start feeling it!”
“Really strange, but it’s probably has something to do with you being the Phoenix Titan? You are, after all, the strongest warrior in the world! Even amongst the Nine Pillars of Power, you are the strongest!” Stuart said and he winked at his friend.
Lakshman laughed sarcastically and said “Are you seriously saying I’m one of those hideous monsters that looks like a human, but deep down it can’t be called human at all?!”
Stuart smiled and said “Why not? I think the fact that you’re the Phoenix Titan and pretty resistant to normal weather most normal people, like me, struggle to live with. To top of it, you’re incredibly powerful! You defeated the Demon Emperor with nothing, but your fist, right?”
Hearing that, Lakshman sighed. In these three years, word spread like wildfire about his amazing victory against the Demon Emperor. Then Rumours began to spread and exaggerate how he won against him and one of them was about how he defeated the Demon Emperor with a single punch.
Lakshman sighed and said “I told you, I punched the damn… um…”
“Revenge Death Ball,” Stuart said helpfully.
“Yes, that! I punched that damn thing straight back at him and added a bit of power to it. That was it! There was nothing else I did, except blast the damn thing back at him for trying to kill me and my comrades!”
Stuart laughed and said “Yes, I know, but the rumours just don’t stop, do they? Eventually, they’ll start treating you like a god!”
Lakshman snorted and said “Every time I hear people refer to the Nine Pillars of Power, they get really nervous and start speaking in hushed tones! It’s like they’re afraid to draw attention to themselves.”
“Naturally, they do. The warriors from the Nine Pillars of Power have powers that could rival the gods! So I think it’s a natural reaction for the common folk, under the King rank, to fear them.”
“What about you? You don’t seem to fear me or anything.”
It was Stuart’s turn to snort and he said “Why would I be fearful of you?”
“Like… In town, people keep asking me why I’m so casual with the Phoenix Titan. I just told them Lakshman is my friend and he is too stupid to be the Phoenix Titan!”
Lakshman was stunned by Stuart’s words. Stuart was smiling at him and laughed at seeing his reaction.
“W-What did you say, Stuart?” Lakshman exclaimed and he raised his hand to hit him.
Stuart laughed easily and moved so fast he instantly reached the front gates. He looked back and said “Sorry, but I’m just saying how it is!”
“Why you little…! I’ll get you back for this!” Lakshman called to him.
“Whatever!” Stuart said with a grinning face. Then he said “I’ll see you tomorrow!”
“Fine!” Lakshman said and he waved at his friend. Then he smiled cheekily and muttered “Frozen Ground.”
In an instant, the ground in front of Stuart became frozen like ice. Stuart, unaware, put his foot on it and suddenly slipped. He let out a soft groan as he slipped forward and fell, face first, into the snowy ground.
For a moment, he did not move. Then he stuck his face up which was covered in snow. He quickly pushed the snow off his face and slowly got up while looking puzzled. Stuart had no idea what just happened, but he surmised he had slipped on a slippery part of the ground. He never once suspected Lakshman’s handy word.
“Are you alright?” Lakshman called while he tried to smother his laughter.
“Y-Yeah…! I just slipped by accident!” Stuart called back and he made it out of the front gate.
He turned around, waved his in goodbye and he began running towards his home. Lakshman waved at Stuart until he disappeared. Then he shook his head while laughing as he said “You fool…!”
Then he got to his feet and dusted the snow off his clothes before walking back into the house.
“I’m back!” he called once he closed the door.
He took his shoes off and walked towards the stairs. At that moment, he heard a familiar voice speak to him from the kitchen.
“Welcome back, ma- Ugh… Master… You’re always such a stink bucket in the mornings!”
“W-What’s that supposed to mean, Ondine?!” Lakshman said when he turned to face her.
Ondine was walking towards him while holding her nose. In the last three years, she had grown tall and now reached around his shoulders. With her grown of height and her hair which fell down to her waist, her beauty also developed into something most young men would get distracted over.
At that moment, Lakshman suddenly felt himself turn towards the stairs. Ondine had quickly grabbed him and turned him around. Then she began pushing him up the stairs at a run.
“Hurry, hurry! Go up and wash yourself, master!” she called energetically.
“H-Hey! Don’t push! What if I stumble?” Lakshman asked as he was quickly pushed up the stairs.
“Don’t worry. I’m here to grab you if anything bad happens!” Ondine said brightly, but he did not feel reassured.
They soon reached the top floor and Lakshman thought she will stop, but he was wrong. Ondine continued to push him towards the door that led to the bathroom. Once they reached the destination, she stopped pushing and he was finally able to turn around.
“Wait! I don’t have any clothes to…” Lakshman began to say.
At that moment, Ondine pulled his arms out and handed him a pair of clothes. Lakshman was startled to see the clothes were brand new and not worn before. Then he wondered why Ondine was giving them to him and whether they will fit him or not.
“Ondine. I never wore these clothes before,” he told her with a puzzled expression on his face.
“Stop talking and get washed, master! You’re stinking like anything!” Ondine said as she clapped her nose tightly.
“W-What’s that supposed to mean?!” Lakshman asked indignantly.
“Get go and take shower! Make sure to rub your hair down properly! Got it?” Ondine said and she opened the door for him and pushed him in.
“W-What’s the heck was that?” Lakshman asked with a confused expression on his face.
He looked down at the clothes she gave him and he shrugged his shoulders. Turning around, he placed his hand on the doorknob and said “Lock.” He heard a click sound and he knew the door was locked.
Walking over, he placed them on a rack attached to the wall. Then he took off his currently worn clothes and threw them into the bucket.
Lakshman stepped into the shower and closed the door to not let any water get out. Then he placed his hand on a rod sticking out and muttered “Fifty percent cold and fifty percent hot. Start.”
In an instant, water began to stream down the shower head. He moved it a little high to wash his body from the top to bottom. Because of how hard he had been training these past three years, Lakshman’s body developed fine muscles and abs.
He bent his head down and washed his head before placing his hand on the rod and said “Pause.” It caused the water to stop flowing out. Then he took the bottle from the side which read “Flower & Roses Shampoo”. He poured some of it into his hand, applied it to his hair and began rubbing energetically.
After rubbing for a minute, he placed his hand on the rod and said “Resume.” He cleaned the shampoo off his hair and repeated the steps one more time.
Once his hair was done, Lakshman stopped the water and put the bottle back. Then he picked up the soap which was being used by everyone in the family. He rubbed it down fully and then washed it all away by turning the water back on.
“Stop,” Lakshman said and the water stopped flowing out as it reset to normal.
Lakshman turned around and placed his hand on another rod attached to the side. In an instant, his body began to glow warmly and the water dried off his skin. Even his spiky hair dried up easily and he took his hand off it.
He opened the door and stepped out with a sigh of relief. Then he walked over to the brand new clothes Ondine had given him. He was surprised to see that they were formal clothes. Wondering why she gave such clothes to him, Lakshman shrugged his shoulders and quickly got into them.
“I’m out!” Lakshman said brightly when he opened the bathroom door.
He was surprised to find Emilia standing in front of him with a big smile on her face. Over the past three years, Emilia had changed quite a bit. She decided to cut until she had medium length hair. So it gave her a good look and appearance.
When she saw him in those clothes, she looking him up and down with a wondering look on her face. It looked like she was taken in by how handsome he appeared in those clothes.
“Emilia? Why are you here?” Lakshman asked curiously.
“You’re know soon enough, master,” Emilia said brightly
She quickly walked over to him and closed his eyes for some reason.
“Um… I can’t see like this,” Lakshman said as he pointed out the obvious.
“That’s the point. Now follow my guidance,” Emilia said happily.
Lakshman shrugged his shoulders and moved along with her. They reached the footsteps and they slowly walked down it. Step by step, Emilia carefully guided him down the stairs until they finally reached the landing. Then she turned him to the side and they walked towards the dining room.
When they entered, Lakshman felt excitement in the air which puzzled him. He did not know what was so special was today to make them all feel so excited.
“Here we are!” Emilia said brightly and she took he hands away from her eyes.
Lakshman slowly opened his eyes and looked around. There were his father, Indra, his mother, Lakshmi, their house maid, Marian, Tetra and Cantia. He saw them grinning which surprised them when Emilia nudged him forward.
Then his eyes fell on the dining table and there it was; a birthday cake. Looking at it and reading the words made him smile. That was also when he finally realised it was his sixteenth birthday. It was also the day he will officially be recognised in society as a man.
“Um… Really… I forgot about my own birthday…!” Lakshman said with a chuckle.
Lakshmi smiled and said “Go on! Let’s not waste any more time!”
Indra excitedly said “Make sure to blow as hard as you could to take out those sixteen candles on the cake!”
Lakshman looked at the cake and noticed the sixteen candles on them. He was surprised, but he quickly resolved himself to blowing them out. Taking one final glance at everyone’s big grins and smiles before turning back to the cake.
He took a deep breath and held on for a moment. Then, just as he was about to breathe, Marian suddenly realised something was wrong and began to say “Young master… Wait! I don’t think you need to blow that hard…!”
It was too late and Lakshman blew at the cake. In an instant, a powerful force of wind began to blow within the room. The wind was so strong, it lifted the cake and sent it flying everywhere. Everyone got their face splattered by cake figments and they yelped in surprise. Tetra, however, summoned a shield and used it to cover her face against the flying cake.
Once the wind settled down, the room was littered with cake fragments and so was everyone’s faces. Then Indra burst out laughing as he scooped up the cake on his face with his tongue and ate it cheerfully.
“This is delicious!” Indra said brightly.
Lakshman smiled widely, put his hand behind his head and scratched in embarrassment. Then he said “Oops… I used too much force when I blew. My bad…!”
Lakshmi was shaking her head and wiped the cake fragments off her face and said “Honestly… This is what happens when you’re so out of control!”
Indra laughed and said “Cheer up! This way, he’s given us the cake… to our faces…!”
Then he began to laugh at his own joke and everyone joined in, including Lakshmi, She moved over to her son and began cleaning the cake off his face with a cloth. The girls were doing the same with a cloth from the dining table.
“Ah!” Cantia suddenly cried in surprise. Then she said “Tetra’s shield herself with a shield! That’s unfair!”
Tetra shrugged her shoulders, smiled and said “I’m a Sacred Spirit. I’m not letting a cake hit me!”
“Grr…” Cantia said unhappily and she scowled at her.
Emilia laughed and said “We predicted this might happen. Isn’t that right, Ondine?”
“You’re right, Emilia! We thought master might be careless and blow a little too hard. So we prepared another came as backup!” Ondine said brightly.
At that moment, Mariana walked into the room carrying a cake on a plate. Lakshman was surprised because he did not notice her leave the room at all. Then he realised she must have left when she realised he was about to use excessive force.
“Okay! I’ll blow again!” Lakshman said eagerly.
“No you don’t! Someone please give me a take to seal his mouth!” Lakshmi said quickly and they laughed.
She wiped the dining table and Mariana placed the cake on it. This time, Lakshman smiled as Cantia walked over and handed him a cutting knife. Thanking her, he began to cut the cake and everyone began to clap and sing the birthday song.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Lakshman, happy birthday to you!”
Then they began clapping energy and Lakshman laughed. In the year 8097 PX of the month of Jeybun and the day was the twenty-fifth when Lakshman turned sixteen. This was the first time, in his life, he had really enjoyed his birthday, after the one had had three years ago with Sumara Manjuvad, his ex-magic tutor.
Then he cut up the cake into pieces and fed them to each of his family member. They did the same to him enjoyably. Ondine, Emilia, Tetra and Cantia all kissed him on the cheek and he did the same to them happily.
Afterwards, he, Indra, Tetra and Cantia moved into the living room with slices of the cake. Meanwhile, Lakshmi, Mariana, Emilia and Ondine cleaned up the room before it stank of cake.
“Lucky! When you turn twenty-one, make sure to blow as hard as you could okay?” Indra asked him eagerly.
“Sure!” Lakshman said happily.
The two of them were happy, but the girls were not. Tetra scowled at Lakshman and said “Master… If you dare to do that, I swear I will seriously stab you up you’re…”
She did not finish, but he got the message. He quickly waved his hand at her and said “It was a joke! Just a joke, Tetra! Please don’t say such nasty stuff on my birthday!”
“Hmph! Knowing you, I’m sure you might’ve tried to pull it off…” Tetra said crossly.
At that moment, a familiar voice said “I think he would’ve said that as well. He is, after all, Indra’s son.”
They were shocked by the sudden voice and they exclaimed “What the?!”
Then a black hole suddenly opened and it swirled all around. Cantia panicked wildly and jumped back, but the rest of them knew what it was.
“Phoenix Portal!” Indra said as he looked at the portal. Then realising who will be coming through it, he slowly said “So that means…”
“You guessed it! It’s me, the Phoenix Emperor, Felix!” Felix said as he stepped through the portal.
“Felix!” everyone, except Cantia, exclaimed.
After exchanging hellos to them all, Felix walked over to where Lakshman was standing. After shaking hands firmly, Felix held out an envelope to Lakshman.
“What is this?” Lakshman asked in a puzzled voice as he took the envelope from Felix.
“It’s a birthday present from me. It’s your enrolment letter,” Felix said brightly.
“Enrolment letter…?” Lakshman asked curiously. Then his eyes widened and he slowly said “You don’t mean…?”
Felix nodded and said “That’s right. It’s your letter of enrolment into Astral Academy.”