“Astral Academy? You mean the one located in Floria Kingdom?” Lakshman asked curiously.
Felix nodded and said “That’s right! I’ve enrolled you into that school.”
“I see…” Lakshman said slowly as he looked at the letter in his hands.
At that moment, Tetra looked at him with a puzzled expression and asked “Felix, what’s the meaning of this? Why are you enrolling master into an academy?”
“Yes, that’s what I want to know,” Indra said as he nodded in agreement with Tetra. Then he looked at Felix and asked “Why are you enrolling him without asking our permission?”
Felix snorted and said “Sorry, but this doesn’t concern you as parents anymore.”
“What? It doesn’t?” Indra exclaimed in surprise.
Felix shook his head and said “Lucky’s will eventually become the Phoenix Titan. Even though he’s awakened to those powers, he has much to learn. He is still unable to use a lot of techniques I tried teaching him.” Then he turned to Lakshman and asked “You still haven’t been able to use the Phoenix Portal, right?”
Lakshman shook his head unhappily. He had been constantly trying to use some of the really complicated techniques Felix taught him, but they just keep exploding in his face. Phoenix Portal was, by far, the most draining of the techniques he knew.
Then he smiled up at Felix and said “I did master Pass Through!”
“Hmm? You mean that Transport Magic Spell that lets you pass through objects?” Felix asked him. When Lakshman nodded, he smiled and said “Good job. It took your nearly three years to master that technique!”
Lakshman sighed and, in a frustrated voice, said “The other techniques are pretty hard to grasp because I just don’t get it…!”
Felix chuckled and said “Which is why you need higher education. Don’t worry! Astral Academy is the elite of the elites! That place is the best place for you to start training your knowledge!”
Lakshman nodded slowly at him, but Indra suddenly rose to his feet and said “Felix, you can’t do this!
“What do you mean?”
“We did agree to think about his future when he turns sixteen, but doing all this without telling us…!”
“I’m tell you now, right? That’s better than me barging in, telling him has to go and drag him away without a pause, right?”
“You never stop doing forceful things, will you?”
Felix shrugged his shoulders and said “How do you expect me to stop when my role demands it. Besides, he’s not going to be attending an academy of horrors! He’ll be fine where he is going.”
At that moment, Lakshman said “I’ll go.”
“What? Master?” Tetra said in a surprised voice.
“L-Lucky?” Indra asked in a surprised voice.
“Nyaa?” Cantia said when she reappeared with her ears and tail out.
“See! Even Lucky understands—!” Felix began to say cheerfully.
“However, I’ll go on a condition,” Lakshman said.
“Condition? What condition would that be?” Felix asked curiously.
Lakshman his hand and began to fold them as he named them.
“Ondine, Tetra, Emilia and Cantai. I want all four of them to join me as well!” Lakshman told Felix.
“Eh?” Tetra said and she looked amazed.
“Why us-nyaa?” Cantia asked curiously.
Lakshman turned to her, smiled and said “Because I need you.”
The truth of the matter is, it was not his idea. Just now, he dived into his mind to consult with the Decisive Player. He was surprised when the Decisive Player told him to take the girls with him.
“Eh? Why?” Lakshman had asked with a surprised expression on his face.
“You need them. They need you,” the Decisive Player said with a smile. Then he winked and said “Thinking about how the girls would feel being left behind?”
“Oh… You’re right. They’ll seriously be unhappy and I can’t do that!” Lakshman said and he looked determined.
“Good. Then it’s decided,” the Decisive Player said with a nod of his head.
Back in reality, Lakshman was smiling at the girls. The girls loved him and he loved them very much. Causing them sadness over being left behind was something he disliked. If there was a chance of them coming, he will gladly take it.
Felix made a face as if he was thinking about it. Then he sighed and said “There’s no winning against you, is there? Fine. I’ll prepare their enrolment as soon as I get back. Actually… It’s better if I go now. Phoenix Portal!”
When the black hole appeared, he began to walk towards it, but stopped just before it.
“Oh! Almost forgot! You’ll need these!” Felix took out a scroll and threw it to Lakshman.
Lakshman caught it with great skill and looked at it. He recognised it as a Transport Scroll. On it, he saw a drawing and bold letters underneath it read “Phoenix Portal.”
“Use that in two days,” Felix informed him.
“Why in two days?” Lakshman asked curiously.
Felix grinned at him and said “Astral Academy starts in two days.”
Lakshman was shocked by the news and said “Eh? In two days? Already?”
Felix grinned at him and said “You got it. So I’ll see you in two days!”
“Ah! Wait!” Lakshman said, but Felix walked into the portal and disappeared.
There was a stretch of silence that lasted for several seconds. Then Cantia unhappily said “What a rude man-nyaa? He gave master a present before us-nyaa!”
Lakshman sighed and he turned to look at Cantia. She was standing straight with her cat ears twitching and her tail swishing back and forth.
“Cantia… You’re in your humanoid form…” Lakshman said wearily.
“Eh-nyaa?!” Cantia exclaimed in shock. Then she said “My bad-nyaa.”
Tetra looked at her sternly and asked “Cantia… I know you’re from the Camdra Beast Clan who are full of cat people, but why are you the only one that speaks like that?”
Cantia looked surprised by her question. Then she turned to Lakshman and asked “How many times has she asked that same question, master-nyaa?”
Lakshman shrugged his shoulders and said “Who knows? I list count.”
“Stop that!” Tetra snapped and they jumped in surprise. Then she stared sternly at Cantia and asked “I’ve never heard any of your clansmen, including your chief, speak like that!”
Cantia shrugged her shoulders and said “It sort of became a habit-nyaa.”
“It became a habit? I can’t believe this… Of all the Camdra Beast Clansmen, one turns out to be really weird by adding ‘nyaa’ at the end of every sentence!” Tetra said with a heavy sigh.
“Don’t complain-nyaa!” Cantia said in an annoyed voice. There was a flash of light and Cantia returned to her human appearance. She scowled at Tetra and said “Is this better?”
“Much better! Now you really look like a human!” Tetra said and she gave her a thumps up with a grin on her face.
“Annoying…” Cantia muttered.
Lakshman chuckled at seeing the exchange between the girls.
Over the span of three years, he had learnt that the Camdra Beast Clan were capable of transforming to look human by changing their eyes, hiding their ears and tails. Then he was surprised to find that Cantia spoke like a human in her human form, but reverts to talk like a cat in her humanoid form. Additionally, she can transform into a cat as well which he enjoys petting.
The next morning, Lakshman informed Stuart about his decision after their morning run and sparing training. Stuart was really surprised when he told him.
“You’re going away… again?!” Stuart exclaimed while looking shocked.
Lakshman smiled and said “Sorry, but Felix just came yesterday and dropped it on us out of the blue.”
Stuart sighed and said “At least you’re telling me this time. You never used to bother telling me about anything!”
“What do you mean?”
“Like last year you disappeared for a month and I got worried! Seriously! What were you thinking leaving without telling your best friend where you were going?!”
“T-That wasn’t my fault! Dad and his friends found a Labyrinth Tower and dragged me away!” Lakshman said innocently. Then he went on saying “It took us a whole month because we kept going in circles and the traps were annoying as hell to escape from.”
Stuart snorted and said “Hmph! At least you’re improving… at becoming very strong!”
“I-I’m sorry…” Lakshman said apologetically.
They fell silent after that. They remained like this for a minute and watched the people walking by their house. The people were happy as their children energetically walked with them and playing in the snow.
Stuart suddenly looked at Lakshman and said “You’ve become really strong. So Why not drop the act?”
“Hmm? What act?” Lakshman asked in confusion.
Stuart pointed a finger at him and said “Your act with going easy on me!”
“E-Eh?” Lakshman said and he was startled by his friend’s words.
“I know you’re pretending to go full on at me all this time! I let it slip because I saw that you were enjoying yourself fighting one equal footing with me, but stop it! In the future, if you keep going easy on people, they will take advantage of it because it will become your weakness!” Stuart told him harshly.
Lakshman was rendered speechless for a moment. Then he shook his head to clear away the shock and said “B-But what can friend am I if I didn’t go do it for you?”
Stuart nodded at his words and said “I know and I’m grateful for that! Thanks to it, I’ve managed to overcome training under three-hundred times gravity! These Gravity Rings are really a wonder! But stop holding back from here on!”
Lakshman sighed wearily and said “Fine… I promise I won’t hold back or go easy on anyone from here on.”
Hearing him sound dull, Stuart held his hand out and said “Promise on our friendship then! Prove to me you won’t go easy at all!”
Lakshman hesitated when he saw Stuart’s outstretched hand. Then he sighed and placed his hand on it and gripped it firmly.
“Fine! I won’t go easy on any idiot from here on!” Lakshman said firmly. Then he asked “Satisfied?”
Stuart nodded and smiled as he said “Yup!” Then he jumped to his feet and said “Now show me how powerful you are when you aren’t going easy on me!”
With that, he grabbed the handle of the wooden sword and jumped to his feet. He quickly moved to the other end of the house. Lakshman got up and walked down the steps and a few paces forward. He wanted to avoid using powerful techniques to avoid damaging the house.
“Ready?!” Stuart called and Lakshman nodded at him. Then he saw Stuart grin and said “Ready or not, here I come anyway!”
With a shout, Stuart charged at him with his sword bearing straight for him. To a normal eye, that movement would have been very fast leg movement. To Lakshman, however, it looked like a snail moving on two legs.
He disappeared and reappeared directly in front of Stuart who bumped into him. He reeled back in shock at suddenly seeing Lakshman that close to him.
“Infinity Step?” Stuart asked with a grin on his face.
Lakshman shook his head and said “Nope. Pure leg power.”
“R-Really? Astounding! Then how about this!” Stuart said and he darted forward with a quick stab at him.
His eyes widened when his sword went straight through Lakshman’s body. He quickly landed and looked around. Then his eyes widened when he saw Lakshman standing behind him with a big grin on his face. He also saw the raised wooden sword and quickly got out of the way just as Lakshman swung down.
With a powerful swing of the wooden sword, Lakshman released a striking energy that cut through the snowy ground. Stuart, who had gotten out of the way in time, saw the snowy ground part with the energy wave that was sent.
He looked back at his friend and asked “Seriously? Are you trying to knock me out?”
Lakshman shrugged his shoulders and said “You did tell me not to go easy. So I’m using the necessary amount to simply knock you out.”
“Oh really..? Heh…! Fine! I’ll take this seriously then!” Stuart said and he began to surge with power.
He dashed forward and slammed his wooden sword into Lakshman’s sword. Lakshman was taken aback by the sudden increase in Stuart’s speed. Then Stuart began swinging the sword at an incredible speed at Lakshman. Each blow was powerful from the previous and caused Lakshman to step back.
Even with that increased speed, Stuart was still unable to hit Lakshman. With the initial surprise over, Lakshman now easily block every blow Stuart tried to land on him. It soon became a one sided battle with Stuart barely able to keep up with Lakshman’s blocking speed.
“I think it’s about time we wrap this up!” Lakshman said and he flashed a grin at his friend.
“Eh?” Stuart said and he looked surprised by his words.
The next moment, Lakshman withdrew back one step. He dropped his sword to his side and smiled at Stuart. Then he surged with power and swung the sword at Stuart. With a mighty blast, snow erupted and went flying everything and Stuart flew high into the air with a yell.
“Oops…! I meant to send his sword flying, not him as well!” Lakshman exclaimed and he looked up to see his friend become a dot in the sky.
Then, as Stuart slowly fell down, Lakshman muttered “Oh no… This will hurt!”
He quickly used his left hand to use magic. Over the past three years, Lakshman had mastered to be able to use magic regardless which hand he used. Yet, even with that, he was unable to write with both hands for some reason. His parents told him magic and hand writing are not the same.
“Soft Earth!” Lakshman said firmly.
Stuart fell down at incredible speed and smashed into the ground. Because of the Soft Earth Magic Spell Lakshman used, Stuart landed without a scratch, but it could have been worse.
Stuart was staring up at the sky with wide eyes and was laughing hysterically. Lakshman knelt down where his friend had landed and was laughing hysterically.
“I never thought humans could fly, but then I suddenly realised we don’t have wings to fly!” Stuart said once he recovered from his crash course in flight lesson.
“Seriously? You know that I can fly, right?” Lakshman asked as he helped Stuart up.
“True, but that’s Energy Manipulation! You truly don’t have wings, even for a Phoenix Titan!”
“What? Are you saying I should be a bird man?”
“Why not? Phoenix Titan the Birdman! That’s a wonderful title! All you need now are wings! Isn’t there some sort of technique to get wings?”
“If there was one, I wouldn’t know about it,” Lakshman said and they both laughed.
Once he dusted the snow off his clothes, Stuart asked “Just how much power did you put into your attack just now?”
“Mmm… Quite a bit. The snow was making my energy a bit sloppy so I used more than necessary. That’s why I accidentally sent you flying into the air like a bird without wings!” Lakshman said and he grinned at him.
While laughing, they put their wooden swords away. Then Stuart headed for the front gate and Lakshman escorted him to say his final goodbye.
“Now…! Make sure you don’t forget our promise, got it? If I heard something about you holding back and going easy on people, I swear I will drop by and give you an earful! Maybe I’ll even consider telling your lovers to give you one on my behalf!” Stuart said severely.
Lakshman laughed and said “No need to worry. There’s no chance of me ever having to hold back now! I feel its time I start pushing my boundaries again!”
“Boundaries?” Stuart said with a quizzical look on his face. Then he sighed and said “Who refers to their limits as boundaries? Use the proper terms from now on, got it?”
“Yes, Mr. Language Expert!” Lakshman said and they laughed again.
“Well then! Good luck with your studies and I hope you have fun!” Stuart said in encouragement.
Lakshman nodded at him and then they waved before Stuart left. He watched Stuart walk towards town and disappear in the distance. This will be the last time Lakshman will see in a long while.
The next day, Lakshman, Ondine, Tetra, Emilia and Cantia prepared their luggage for transport. Each of them only had one bag each to carry their clothes and anything necessary with them.
Lakshman was not taking the Crystal Clock he got from Wolfenstine. Heeding his advice, Wolfenstine had released a prototype of the Crystal Clock into public. Upon discovering the use of the clock, the markets were filled with them. People bought the clocks enthusiastically because their friends also had one.
At that moment, Lakshmi was checking with the girls if they had forgotten anything. The girls all checked their things and stated they did not forget anything. After that, Lakshmi sighed in relief which caused Indra to chuckle.
“What?” she asked him.
“You need to learn to relax,” Indra said and he winked at her.
“How can I? I’m worried because they’ll be attending school from now on! So I’m making sure they have everything they need for school!” Lakshmi said in a worried voice.
“Ah, calm down! We’ll make Felix take care of things if anything goes wrong.”
“You’re turning the Phoenix Emperor into an errand boy?”
“Why not? It’s his fault to make this kind choice so it’s also his responsibility to oversee it to the end!”
“Now really… What would he say if he heard you say that?”
Indra shrugged his shoulders and said “He would probably agree with me. That guy’s pretty duty bound and likes to get things done in an orderly fashion.”
At that moment, Lakshman said “Okay. Are we ready?”
The girls nodded at him with smiles on their faces. Lakshman had the Phoenix Portal scroll with him and he nodded at them. He rolled the scroll open and placed it on the ground.
Then he took a deep breath and said “Phoenix Portal!”
In an instant, a black hole appeared in front of him. It hung in mid-air and sent black streams while rotating in a circle. Lakshman rolled up the scroll and put it into his bag.
“Ladies first,” Lakshman said and he indicated towards the portal.
“Got it! I’ll go first then!” Tetra said and she bravely walked into the portal and disappeared.
“Me next!” Cantia said energetically and, while hoisting her bad over his shoulders, she entered the portal.
“My turn,” Ondine said apprehensively and she carefully stepped into the portal with her bang in hand.
Emilia sighed and she picked up her by the hand. As she walked towards the portal, she was suddenly called to a stop.
“Emilia! Wait!” Lakshmi said to her.
Emilia looked in wonder as Lakshmi darted into her room. She came back out with a flower clip which she handed to Emilia.
“Um…? A flower clip?” Emilia asked curiously.
Lakshmi nodded and said “It’s something my mother gave me as a present when I really young and I often wore it.”
“Eh? T-Then why are you giving it to me…?” Emilia asked anxiously.
Lakshmi smiled at her and said “I want you to have it, Emilia. I think it’s about time you look more womanly.”
Emilia looked at Lakshmi wordlessly, but her face was filling up with happiness.
“T-Then… Will you put it on for me, please?” Emilia asked curiously.
“Certainly!” Lakshmi said happily and she moved forward.
While Lakshmi carefully put the clip on Emilia’s hair, Lakshman and Indra watched happily. Then Lakshman felt a thug on his clothes and he looked down. Standing there with curious expressions on their faces were his twin sisters; Indira and Priya.
In the three years, the kids had the biggest change within the family. Lakshman had marvelled at how big his twin sisters grew from small babies to being able to walk on their own feet. He felt like it was only yesterday he saw them crawling around the house and exploring everything.
The reason they did not attend his birthday yesterday was because they were fast asleep. Indra and Lakshmi decided it was best to let them sleep since they are just kids. Lakshman also did not mind in the slightest that his sisters were asleep when they had their birthday party.
“Annayya going away?” one of the twins asked him.
“That’s right, Priya. I’ll be going away for a while,” Lakshman said cheerfully.
Lakshman did not know how, but he was able to tell who was Indira and Priya when he looked at the twins. His parents called it the brother intuition after living with them and watching them grow for the last three years.
“While I’m gone, be nice and don’t be naughty, okay?”
“If annayya says so.”
“We won’t be naughty.”
Grinning broadly, Lakshman smiled and rubbed the two sisters’ head cheerfully. They seemed to be enjoying it because they closed their eyes and began to make small noises.
At that moment, Lakshman saw Emilia step through the portal and disappear. It was finally his turn and he straightened up.
“Okay, dad. I’m leaving,” Lakshman said with a smile to his father.
“Right! Now make sure you study hard and well, okay? Don’t make the Chand family look bad, got it?” Indra said to him seriously.
Lakshman chuckled and he said “I won’t.”
“Hmm…! Also, If you get more loves, make sure to take responsibility, got it? Girls can be pretty sensitive and might take rash decisions.”
Lakshman looked alarmed by his father’s words and he exclaimed “Dad! What are you saying?!”
Lakshmi hit Indra across the head and said “You are such a nice person!”
“What? I’m just predicting what might happen…!” Indra said with his arms spread out.
“Honestly…” Lakshmi said and she shook her head at her husband. Then she turned to Lakshman and said “Take care of yourself from now on.”
“Thanks, mum!” Lakshman said cheerfully and he hugged her. Then he walked over to Mariana and said “Mariana… I’ll see you later.”
Mariana nodded and, to their surprise, he hugged her tightly. She became flustered by his actions and he quickly let go of her. Grinning broadly, he quickly walked over to his bag. Picking it up, he slung it over his shoulders.
“Bye, bye, annayya,” his baby sisters called to him and they waved at him.
“Bye, bye!” Lakshman said and he waved back at them. Then he turned to the rest of his family and said “See you all later!”
With that, he grinned and quickly walked through the portal and disappeared. The portal glowed for a moment before becoming small and vanishing into thin air.