Nobility Ranking System
“So what did you come to talk to me about?” Felix asked to move the subject onward.
“Ah. It’s about the tournament… um… the competition we had yesterday,” Lakshman said vaguely.
“You mean the Joint Lesson,” Tetra suggested and he nodded at her.
“That’s right! That Joint Lesson, although we didn’t exactly learn stuff except fight so I’m conflicted whether to call it a lesson or just a competition.”
“Some call it a competition while others correctly call it the Joint Lesson. You can choose to use whichever terms you’d like, but it doesn’t matter. You are learning by fighting each other and seeing your opponents react with the knowledge of seeing the potential of your classmates,” Felix said helpfully.
“I see. I thought something like that was the case, but I feel there are some thing happening behind the scenes that I’m not aware of. Care to explain to me?” Lakshman asked Felix while he watched him intently.
“Something behind the scenes? Whatever could you possibly mean by that?” Felix asked and he looked a little confused.
“Like… When the Raids team lost to us, the Surds, they looked really unhappy.”
“Isn’t that simply because they just lost the match? How can you expect your opponents to start cheering for you right after losing a match?”
“I’m aware of that, but throughout the years of experiencing and competing in many of the competitions around my village, I saw the adults always being happy. Even when we lost several of the matches, we still felt happy for the other team. Here, the Raids team members were pretty unhappy and even threw strange glances towards me.”
Felix shook his head and said “Lucky, that’s optimistic. You can’t expect every one of your opponent to feel happy like you. Regular people aren’t exceptional with their feelings like the rest of us.”
“You know… I would’ve thought the same thing if it weren’t for the fact that I heard them. Yesterday evening, I was in the library looking up the textbook that explains about how swords are manufactured. Then I saw them, huddled in a corner and muttering to each other,” Lakshman told him.
Felix shrugged his shoulders and said “They’re probably there to do some work. Like you said, there’s a lot of homework to get through, right?”
“I know, but I felt a dark aura emanating from them and heard some really… um… creepy words.”
“Like… ‘Let’s beat them!’ or ‘We’ll come first!’ or ‘Time to do our best!’ or similar ones like that.”
Felix chuckled and said “Lucky… They are just being very determined about winning the competition. There’s nothing to feel suspicious about that… Really!”
Felix was chuckling as he thought that was funny, but Lakshman did not find it funny. When he was there, he had a strange sense of a weird dark power emanating from them. It reminded him of the time when a Dark Spirit was born in the heart of Emilia before he and the Decisive Player destroyed it.
Lakshman couched and said “Yes. I’m sure it’s just them being extremely determined, but why? Why so determined to win a stupid competition? Shouldn’t they be focusing all their energies on passing the exams? Isn’t that the real big deal of the academy or am I missing something here?”
For the first time, Felix did not respond and fell silent instead. He stopped smiling and wore a grim expression on his face as he and Lakshman stared at each other. Ondine, Tetra, Emilia and Cantia suddenly felt the atmosphere, in the room, change as they looked between the two.
“Felix… Just why do those girls take those competitions so seriously instead of their subjects? It’s only been one week and I can tell something is off about that weekly competition. Even the principal didn’t tell me properly before she told me to speak to you about it.”
Felix looked away as he made an irritation sound with his mouth.
“Damn Carmila…!” he said in an annoyed voice. Then he turned back to Lakshman and said “Lucky, you don’t worry about the students. They will be fine with the way things are progressing. I’m glad you won, but you’re sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. So stop worrying about unnecessary stuff and go back to your studies.”
Lakshman breathed a sigh in disbelief. Then he looked Felix firmly in the eyes and said “Seriously? Is this because you think I can’t handle tough stuff? Come on, Felix! You know I’ve been to the top of a Labyrinth Tower which was annoying! I’ve gone alone to the Monster Dungeon boss floor and defeated the boss and now I’m practically rich even though I’m not living it.”
“Master, I think you’re mistaken in the sense of what is difficult and what is insane,” Tetra said as she smiled at him.
“Yeah! I clearly remember master and his torn up clothes come back with an Item Box full of gold coins!” Cantia said and her eyes were suddenly shining for some reason.
“You two, give it a rest. Master just accidentally ended up reaching the Boss Room and defeated that really large Minotaur!” Emilia said as she scowled at Tetra and Cantia.
“Oh yeah. It carried that battle axe which carried the Power of Inferno. Additionally, it was also protected by this Divine Protection of the Wind thing. I didn’t even realise why I kept getting blown off my feet until the Decisive Player told me about it!” Lakshman said in an annoyed voice.
“Even so, you defeated it and all by yourself!” Odnine said proudly. Then she added “Even though you nearly lost your left arm and Lakshmi got really mad at you for that.”
“Yeah… Mum got really angry about that,” he said and laughed. Then he turned back to Felix and said “See, Felix. I managed to do all that and you’re thinking I can’t handle whatever is going on?”
Felix, who had started to smile, said “You’re exceptionally good at battles, but suck at theoretical stuff!”
“What?!” Lakshman exclaimed in shock. He pointed at the drawer where Felix put the calendar idea away and said “I thought that up and I’m slowly getting a few other ideas as well.”
Felix waved his hand and said “This is not as simple as modifying the calendar and its format. This is politics that you’re going to be messing with!”
“P-Politics?” Lakshman asked and he suddenly felt uncertainty fill his heart.
“That’s right. It’s known as the Nobility Ranking System which should be self-explanatory.”
“It is, but why rank the nobles? I don’t get it. What’s the purpose of using such a system?”
“The purpose of this ranking is to allocate the authority one possess. So the higher ranked you are, the more authority you possess. So far, there are around seventy nobles and some others who’ve just recently reached the nobility rank. Now their kids are trying to retain their nobility and even go higher up the rank, but there is a catch.”
“Those that are aligned with princess Venezuela will be in a stable position. It’s only those that are opposite them that will have to try really hard to go up the nobility rank.”
Lakshman’s eyes widened in shock. He recalled the desperation of the Raids team and its members as they fought for victory. This little information that Felix passed onto him made him realise something else. If he had not joined the battle, they would have won and would certainly have gone up the ranks.
“No way… So all of this mess started because of… me? Damn…!” Lakshman exclaimed as he looked and felt very unhappy.
“It’s okay and it’s certainly not your fault. You didn’t know and Ondine or the girls wouldn’t have been able to tell you anyway since they didn’t know either. The Nobility Ranking System is a secret system which Floria Kingdom uses, but we’re not alone. Roxfox Kingdom, Mardana Kingdom and Ashtra Kingdom use the same system.”
What…? Even them?” Lakshman asked in a surprised voice.
Felix nodded and said “Two years ago, after the attack of the Demon Emperor and army, the four kingdoms came together to talk. The talks took place in a secret location and it was hectic. Nobles of all types kept bombarding each other about the recent ruckus in Floria.”
“Must have been one hell of a meeting,” Ondine commented in an understanding voice.
“It sure was and they were even intending to take on arms to fight each other. Then the king of Mardana, Grom Gramstone, suggested the idea to use Nobility Ranking System to assign powers instead of constantly fighting amongst each other. ‘Have our children do the fighting for us’ was what he said.”
“That is nasty! This is insane, but what were you doing at that time? Sleeping?” Lakshman asked irritably.
Felix looked unhappy and said “I was there, yes, but what did you expect me to do? My role, as the Phoenix Emperor, is to stop conflict, solve matters and perform other actions following the protocol. What do you think I could’ve done when the four kingdoms agreed on it?”
“But that stupid system is putting unnecessary stress on the children! You’re making them fight desperately for no damn reason! This is literally like a survival of the fittest game! The strongest will survive and the weak will perish! That’s the kind of ideology that inspires this sort of stupidity and you’re okay with that?”
Felix looked down and sadly said “I know, I know and I also feel you’re anger. I share your very sentiment, but… I just don’t have the authority to meddle into this politics. That’s why I didn’t want to tell you about it. I knew you will dislike it since your father is the same.”
“What’s my dad got to do with this?” Lakshman asked him quickly.
Felix looked at him in surprise and asked “You don’t know? Hasn’t he told you yet?”
“Told me what? What didn’t he tell me, Felix? Did he know something about this?”
Felix shook his head and said “No, but… mmm… I think its best you ask him directly instead of me having to tell you everything. Besides, it’s nearly been a week since you came. I think it’s time you mailed them. I’ll have one of my Phintex Raja to deliver it for you.”
Lakshman waved his hand and said “Thanks, but it’s okay. I’ll just use the normal method of mailing letters. Might take weeks or months, but I’m patient. Anyway, I’m going to be really busy with studies and I’m sure I’ll forget about it until the mail returns.”
“That’s what happens when you’re so busy that you start losing track of time,” Felix said and he smiled.
Lakshman nodded and silence fell within the room once more. For a few seconds, none of them talked and they just sat there as the silence enveloped them.
The silence was finally broken by Lakshman returning to the main topic and asking Felix “So there’s nothing you can do about possibly removing this stupid Nobility Ranking System?”
“I wish I can, I seriously do, but my authority does not supersede the authority of the king,” Felix said in an annoyed voice.
Then he saw Lakshman opening his mouth and guessed what he was about to ask and answered it before him.
“Yes, the Phoenix Clan does officially rule over the Floria Kingdom, but that’s only to keep order and balance. We don’t own the place and all, otherwise we wouldn’t need to live outside in a secure location. Along with that, our authority only supersedes kings when they are doing something wrong.”
“So you’re saying this ranking system is not wrong?” Emilia asked curiously.
Felix waved his hands above his head and said “It is wrong, but when more than one kingdom agreed to it, there’s nothing I can do, but make sure it proceeds smoothly. Other than that, I can try convincing the king and that’s about it. I can’t force the matter in any way…!”
“You are weak, Felix! You’re the Phoenix Emperor! You should just go and take it down like a champ!” Ondine said in an unimpressed voice as she starred at him.
“Oh geez… Lucky, you’re girlfriends are turning into your mother and Rasha!” Felix said to Lakshman.
Hearing his words made Ondine, Tetra and Emilia to blush deeply. Cantia, however, was smiling happily with a silly expression on her face.
“Maybe, but that doesn’t matter right now. You’re saying you can’t do it. So maybe I can do it instead.”
Everyone in the room looked surprised and exclaimed “Huh?”
“Um… I don’t mean to be rude, but how are you planning on doing it?” Tetra asked hesitantly.
“That’s right, Lucky. Although you are a noble, you’re a lower ranked noble right now. No one will pay any attention to what you have to say and might even laugh at you. You should actually be glad no one’s realised who you are.”
“I’m sorry, Felix, but I made a promise to a friend that I won’t hold back! There’s no way I can turn back on that promise just because of some silly thing about minding my own business! I’ll have to handle this as the Phoenix Titan!”
Felix looked alarmed and said “Lucky, your duty doesn’t—!”
He was suddenly cut across by Lakshman as he said “I know very well my duty is towards the world and not the people, but I cannot just stand back and pretend I don’t know what’s happening. Knowing the injustice taking place right in front of me and pretending I know nothing about it is the same as criminal activity!”
Felix’s eyes widened in shock. He had seen this sort of personality switch whenever Lakshman transformed into the Phoenix Titan form. Here, however, he still appeared in his normal form, but it looked like his personality took the strong form whenever he was firm on something.
“You know that you’ll expose yourself by doing this, right? People will swarm all over you, try to get your attention and everything. Are you ready for that?”
Lakshman shrugged his shoulders and said “If they’re that eager to know about me, I guess I’ll just have to answer them properly. Besides, what’s the point in hiding myself now when I’ve been making it clear just how strong I am?”
“Even though you haven’t touched the truest of the Phoenix Titan powers yet?” Felix asked and they laughed. Then Felix sighed and said “Do what you want to do. You have that freedom as dictated by the God of Freedom, Rumagan.”
Lakshman got off the chair and said “Thanks, Felix. Well then, I’ll see you later and thanks for notifying me about this. Now it’s time to show my stuff as the Phoenix Titan.”
“Yeah, yeah! Just go back to your dormitory and get your work done before thinking of anything else, Mr. Phoenix Titan! Unlike everyone else, you don’t care about your nobility rank, but make sure to pass the exams!”
“I got it, I got it…!” Lakshman said as the girls rose to their feet.
“See you later, Felix.”
“Have a good day, Felix.”
“Bye, bye, Felix.”
The girls bid their farewell to Felix and he said “See you later,” before waving his hand in goodbye.
Lakshman opened the door and walked out. He stepped aside to let Ondine, Tetra, Emilia and Cantia walk out. Then he closed the door shut and walked towards the place to leave the castle from.
“I think we should really go and buy that mango juice!” Emilia suggested.
“Yes, we should!” Ondine said immediately.
“I don’t mind drinking from it again,” Tetra said.
“More for me!” Cantia said happily.
“Seriously! Don’t get addicted to it!”
“Geez, master. It’s mango juice. It’s really tasty and good for your health!” Emilia said cheerfully.
As they walked away, they began laughing together. They were all happy as they exited through the front doors of the castle.
At that moment, a person walked out of the wall. They had been hiding behind Felix’s room wall when she heard them coming out. Now she walked into the open and saw Lakshman going out of the castle.
“No way…! Phoenix Titan…? What…?” princess Venezuela asked in a hushed voice with a shocked expression on her face.