Lakshman felt that he was standing in an empty space and knew where he was before he opened his eyes. A bright light surrounded him while darkness was swirling outside the light. He tried to look up to see where the light was coming from, but could not due to the light being very bright. Instead, he focused on the present situation and about what just happened.
“Looks like Spirit Connection and Spirit Transition worked, but… where is everyone?” he asked aloud.
Just as he finished asking that question, a light was sudden lit from high above. The light rained down the million rays of light and brought a single person into visible sight. Looking closer, Lakshman realized it was the materialized form of the Demon Slayer; a girl that is 167cm tall with silver hair and a cute face, however, that cute face wore an angry expression.
“She’s angry,” he thought while he smiled slightly.
She opened her mouth and shouted, “Why are you here? Leave!”
The girl just stood there in the light and did nothing, but glare at him fiercely with her fists clenched. It was obvious she was totally unhappy to see him so directly, especially in this space.
Lakshman simply waved his hands at her and said, “Unfortunately, this isn’t your space. This is the Spirit Plane, where all spirits are connected.”
She narrowed her eyes, but before she could say anything, there was a sudden shout from somewhere behind.
Lakshman recognized to whom the familiar voices belonged to and sighed. From having spent his time with them, he did not need the time to turn around to see who it was. Instead, he looked at the Demon Slayer with an exasperated expression on his face.
“Before I talk with you, I have some things to tell my dear loving ladies!”
“H-Huh?” the Demon Slayer said in astonishment.
The Demon Slayer was surprised by his words and was even more surprised when he suddenly turned around and began to walk away from her. She raised her expression and tilted her head to see where he was heading for, only to see several girls running towards him.
Ondine, Tetra, Venezuela, Emilia, Erza and Cantia ran towards him with an expressions of relief on their faces. They were so relieved to see him okay, they completely forgot to ask themselves the question of where they were.
As they reached him, Lakshman came to a stop and shouted, “What the hell are you ladies doing here?!”
The six girls were startled by his loud shouting voice and they quickly stopped, only meters away from him. Each of them, looked at him with a puzzled expressions on their faces because they did not understand his question.
“Um… What do you mean, Lucky?” Emilia asked uncertainly.
“I’m asking you why you are here when I specifically told you to not come for me!” he told them severely.
Ondine, Venezuela, Erza and Cantia looked surprised by how angry he looked.
“Aren’t you glad we’re here?” Ondine asked with an eyebrow raised.
“Under normal circumstances, I would be glad that you’re here, but your presence could cause troubles for my plans! Didn’t you think about that?” he asked sternly.
“I… Well…” Ondine said hesitantly with an unhappy expression on her face.
Venezuela stepped forward and face him with an irritated expression on her face. She was not happy that he was angry with them when she believed he should be pleased that they were there for him.
“Lucky, you are being very rude to us. We came into this danger for your sake! I think you should be more grateful that we’re here for you,” she told him in a firm voice.
“Grateful?” he thundered, much to her surprise. “Why should I be grateful for you girls to barge in here while risking your lives? Why can I be grateful, knowing that you girls are risking your necks to come to my aide! Do you know how I would feel because of your reckless actions? Have you ever considered the torment I would be go through because of your stupidity?”
“S-S-Stupidity?” Venezuela asked slowly with her eyebrows raised. “Y-You’re calling our actions… stupid?”
“Yes! What else would your reckless actions be called?” he asked them fiercely while looking at each of them in turn. “Seriously! I specifically told you girls that I will return to you in one piece and my prize! Don’t you have the trust in me to believe that I can return? Did you ever consider how I would feel, knowing that you girls don’t have that kind of trust in me?”
“Ah,” Venezuela said slowly and she held her head down.
She, Ondine, Emilia and Cantia were looking unhappy because they suddenly realized, at his words, their actions were indeed making him unhappy. They knew he would return to them with his prize, but their lingering doubt and worry for his safety caused them to throw caution to the wind and charge in to help him out. They never suspected their honest feelings would backfire in such a painful way.
The four girls held their heads down in shame and closed their eyes in sadness while trying hard to avoid sniffing from the tears that appeared in their faces. Only Tetra and Erza continued to look at him with resolute expressions on their faces. Unlike the other girls, these two were looking pretty serious with the way they stared at him.
“Why are you two looking at me like that?” he asked them cautiously.
Tetra sniffed and said “Master, I feel you’re wrong with how harsh you are with us. I believe you are being overprotective of us.”
“Yes, Lakshman. Even in my world, you were very overprotective of the people close to you to the point of guarding them with your life. That’s a good trait in any man to have, but that is also an unreasonable trait to possess in great quantities. You will slowly lose the very people you protect like that by letting your own emotions mix with your reasons.”
“But… I can’t let you ladies getting injured because of the battles I face! I can’t stand it!” he told her in a firm voice.
“And? What will happen if the day comes when you finally are in need of our help and we’re not there because of your overprotectiveness? What are you going to do to get out of such a situation?”
Lakshman looked surprised by her words, which made him realize. All this time, he had been putting himself in danger, but never once considered the feelings of the people around him. His achievements in becoming unbelievably strong, obtaining and becoming the Phoenix Titan encouraged him to put himself in mortal danger while keeping everyone he loved, safe. He never once considered.
“Master, do you remember my words from when I first spoke to you before the monster attack?” Tetra asked him.
Lakshman nodded at her and said “Yeah… Fight to protect without dying.”
She slowly nodded back at him and said “Yes… Those were the first Phoenix Titan’s words, who fought alongside all the people he loved and cared for. He always fought alongside his comrades and family, without once thinking of their safety because he had a firm belief that they can protect each other through all sorts of danger.”
“Ah,” he said slowly.
At that moment, flashes of images began passing through his mind. These were memories from a long time ago and these memories included the many battles and the destruction they reigned. Through those memories, the images clearly depicted a man, who looked just like him, fighting while being back up by people that looked like the girls standing around him.
Then a strong memory surge occurred, where the first Phoenix Titan stood in front while surrounded by many people as he looked at the great darkness that was heading towards him. He pulled his sword out, which was the Phoenix Blade, and held her high in the air before shouting “FIGHT TO PROTECT WITHOUT DYING!
The next moment, he swung the sword down and sent a blinding slicing energy towards the darkness and there was a suddenly flash of light that caused the memory to come to an abrupt end.
Lakshman moaned and he clutched his head as the memory flashes finished. The memory images flashed past so quickly, he did not have time to grasp everything. He did, however, take notice of the faces of the girls from the past; their faces girls were very similar to the girls that love him so much in the present.
“Lakshman!” Emilia and Erza said in worried voices.
“Master!” Tetra said quickly.
“Lucky!” Venezuela and Cantia said in voices of concern.
Ondine quickly came forward and supported him by holding him up from the left side. Normally, the girls would have become indignant at her sudden advancement in helping him, but they did not care in the face of him looking slightly unbalanced.
While reeling from the shock, he thought “Wow…! Just now, did I have a memory flash? Damn, that hurt! Still… What were all those images? Who was that guy; he looked so familiar to me? Plus, the girls standing behind him… They, somehow, looked like the girls that surround me today. There’s even a girl that I don’t know or am I going to meet her in the future? Why is Miss. Sumara also there? I don’t believe she lived so long ago…? What the heck is up with that memory flash; it doesn’t make any sense!”
He continued to clutch his head as his mind began to torment itself due to the numerous questions he was asking himself.
“Master, are you alright?” Tetra demanded in a loud voice.
Startled by her voice, he looked at her and blinked in surprise. Then he slowly nodded and his mind quickly calmed down.
“Mmm… Now isn’t the time to think about stuff like that. For now, I’ll put it to the back of my mind to tackle later because I have a Demon Slayer to obtain,” he thought finally before letting out a sigh.
“I… I’m fine. Really… I’m okay,” he told them quickly as he straightened up.
Ondine did not listen and continued to hold onto his left side to support him in case he staggered again.
“Are you sure? Why don’t you sit down and rest a bit?” Emilia asked while looking worried.
“Yeah! You just fought really hard, Lucky! You need to rest!” Cantia said quickly.
“You need to stop putting on the tough guy act and relax!” Venezuela said sternly, but she only spoke worriedly.
He looked at them in surprise. These three girls were hurt a moment ago because of the hard words he said to them, yet they put all that aside and chose to try and help him. This made him realize how much he was putting them down instead of making their talents bloom and show their true strength.
“I don’t know why I had such a memory flash, but I understand the message it left me with. These are my girls for eternity and I cannot push them away, no matter what! They are not babies and I’m not their care taker. In the future, I will be forming a family with them and the last thing I should be doing is pushing them away in the name of protecting loved ones. In the end, we need each other because this isn’t a relationship; it’s a bond for life.”
In that instant, he smiled as he made up his mind to advance things when they get out of this mess. For now, he had to concentrate on something he must do for the future, which was to obtain the Demon Slayer.
“Alright then. If you girls are still up for it, then you can help me to the best of your abilities!” he told them in a firm voice while he smiled at them.
The girls widened their eyes as they realized he had changed his mind. Happy for his mind change, they rushed forward to hug him tightly and he almost toppled. This was the Spirit Plane, not the Physical Plane where he had his physical strength at the advantage. Here, those with the strongest spirit has the edge in being the strongest. Luckily, his spirit was strong and that kept them standing from toppling to the ground.
Together, he and the girls walked to where the Demon Slayer was. She was wearing a slightly dumbfounded expression on her face because she did not understand what she just witnessed; first he yelled at them, then the girls spoke softly to him, then he began swaying on the spot and needed their assistance before he changed his mind about letting them go along with him.
“I know I have no right to comment about you and your girls, but I just want to say that is one of the bizarre things I have ever seen in my life.”
Her words, made the girls chuckle heartily. It was the first time that anyone had the nerve to say such a thing in front of them. Lakshman also smiled, but he was really thinking of the way to convince her into making an Astral Contract with him. For the mistake of not being able to obtain her previously, he planned to acquire her with true grit.
“Yes. I’m sure this does seem bizarre to a Demon Slayer that’s holed herself underground for a hundred years. However, I can assure you that becoming my companion,” he told her smoothly.
The Demon Slayer narrowed her eyes slightly and said “No. I will not become your Contracted Spirit! I no longer have the desire to live in this pathetic world with selfish bastards and chaos everywhere!”
“Oh my, oh my…! I see why you gave such a trouble to Lucky. You really are a troublesome spirit, Demon Slayer!” Venezuela said cheerfully, but the glare in her eyes said the opposite. “With that attitude, it’s no wonder you chose to die rather than live.”
The Demon Slayer suddenly looked sad and said “Yes… I have no desire to live.” For a moment, she closed her eyes and seemed to be in deep thought. Then she opened her eyes and looked at them before saying “That’s why… LEAVE ME ALONE!!!”
She bellowed the last three words at them and began to surge with energy. Her energy swirled around her and quickly formed into a dome like shape. She surged her power and made the dome expand in her attempt to blast them out of the Spirit Plane.
“I know you want to die and I know you want us to leave you alone, but those are things I will not do!” Lakshman bellowed before surging with power.
To her surprise, an identical dome like shape, full of energy, formed around him and the girls and he made it expand. The two dome shaped energies expanded and collided against one another. The Demon Slayer and Lakshman were using their spiritual energies to fuel their energies to conquer the other.
“Wow! This is so much like the clash of energies!” Cantia said excitedly.
Emilia turned to her and said, “Stop getting excited over something like this, Cantia! Can’t you see that master is trying to acquire her?”
“Yeah, but what’s so wrong about cheering for them to butt it heads with their powers?” Cantia asked curiously.
“You really do take things light, don’t you, Cantia?”
“With Lucky by our side, is there a need to feel worried, Emilia?”
Unable to respond, Emilia shrugged her shoulders and turned to face the front.
Lakshman had gritted his teeth as he used more energy to push his energy forward. Eventually, the clashes was decided by a sudden light that resulted in a release of fast blowing winds. Once they calmed down, Lakshman moved very quickly forward and grabbed the hand of the Demon Slayer.
“Let me go!” the Demon Slayer said firmly.
“I won’t!” Lakshman said firmly in his turn.
For a moment, they just stood there and looked fiercely at each other. Then the Demon Slayer smiled slightly, which puzzled him.
“Why are you smiling?” he asked cautiously, realizing the Demon Slayer was about to do something.
“I just realized that we’re in our spirit forms, which means that we can die easily if we were hit by an extremely powerful technique and since you’re saying you won’t let go, we might as well die together!” she told him in a firm declaration.
“Huh? Do you know what you’re saying?” Lakshman said in disbelief.
“Yes…! I tried dying physically, but it was fruitless with your constantly stopping me at every step! Now, I can finally die spiritually die and there’s no way you can stop me!” Then, before he could do anything, she said “Spirit Thunder!”
In an instant, the two of them were riddled by a fierce burst of lightning that hit them with unbelievable amounts of lightning. The lightning was dark in color and surrounded them, making it difficult for any assistance to reach them without suffering the safe fate as them.
“AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!” Lakshman and the Demon Slayer began screaming from the sheer pain of being hit while being unable to defend against any of it.
Ondine, Tetra, Venezuela, Emilia, Erza and Cantia all rushed forward to quickly assist, but Lakshman knew there was no hope for them because of how powerful this technique was.
“Stay back! I… I got this!” he shouted at them while being riddled with lighting and pain.
“Yeah! You got it, alright! You’re being hit by loads of thunder attacks like hell!” Venezuela said sarcastically. “We’re coming to help!”
“No, d-dammit! I told you…! I…I g-got this!” Lakshman thundered at them.
“Venezuela, stop,” Tetra said quickly and stopped her in her tracks. “That’s Dark Thunder. It’s something, not even I am capable of fighting against due to how it feeds on the negative emotions of the victim as it lands the attacks!”
“Are you saying we just leave him there?!” Ondine demanded in a shocked voice.
“All I’m saying is to let master handle this! Admit it! He’s more capable than the rest of us in this situation!”
“How can we be sure he is capable of this? He’s never done it before!”
Tetra sighed and said “If he is so blatantly shouting at us, then he is obviously capable of it! Now, hush before I’m forced to hush you personally!”
Ondine widened her eyes in surprise as she noticed the glint in Tetra’s eyes. She was very angry at her own powerlessness as she and the rest of them watch Lakshman and the Demon Slayer getting zapped by the Dark Lightning technique.
Lakshman griped the Demon Slayer’s hand tightly with his right hand and said “Phoenix Burst!”
In an instant, a massive amount of energy was released and it surrounded them and made it difficult to see what was happening on the inside. Then, in a burst of light, a wave of energy rocketed up into the light and darkness high above. There was a moment of blinding flash of light, before it slowly disappeared and returned everything to normal.
As the wind slowly settled, the girls straightened up to see Lakshman and the Demon Slayer standing while looking unhurt. It was amazing with the technique that Lakshman just unleashed to destroy the effects of the Dark Thunder.
“W-What did you just do?” the Demon Slayer asked with a shocked expression on her face.
Lakshman let out a sigh and said “I released my energy in a ball of energy that created an opposite effect to the Dark Thunder. After absorbing its effects and energy, I released all of it high into the air.”
“No…! Why do you keep on interfering in my desire to die?” the Demon Slayer said to him while trying to free her hand.
“Oh geez…! It’s like you’ve been ignoring the past few battles of mine in your stupid quest to die! Here’s a move to put some sense back into you!” Lakshman said fiercely and he let go of her hand.
“What?” she said in a surprised voice.
“Back Hand Slap!” Lakshman said and, with the back of his hand, he delivered a slap on the right side of her cheek.
For a moment, time stood still as the noise from the slap echoed around the dark space around them. The Demon Slayer, clutched the spot where his hand slapped her and she slowly turned to look at him with wide eyes.
“It may not be an original technique, bit it always works on idiots like you!” he told her in an irritated voice.
At that moment, he heard the sounds of whispering of the girls as they exchanged about what he just did.
“He slapped her…”
“Yeah, he slapped her…”
“He slapped a girl…”
“Back handed slap…”
“On top of that, he made it into some sort of original technique…”
Getting annoyed by their whispering, he looked over his shoulder and snapped, “Stop whispering as I can’t hear you!”
The girls stopped whispering and quickly straightened up while wearing straight faces. However, when he turned around to face the Demon Slayer again, he heard them begin to whisper again. Inwardly, he sighed because he knew there was nothing wrong with them whispering, but it still annoyed him at how boldly they whispered behind his back.
“These girls… Ha… Looks like I’ve got a lot of disciplinary stuff to take care of once we return home,” he thought to himself grimly.
He looked down and saw the tears forming in the Demon Slayer’s eyes and sighed heavily.
“Now, I have to face the problem of slapping a girl, let alone a Sacred Spirit, but what was I supposed to do? It seemed that no amount of attack did any good, so I was left with the only choice of slapping some sense into her! Geez… I hate idiots that are too pig headed to listen to reason. Mmm… I know I’m going to hate it, but I’ll have to behave like the bad person here!”
“You stop crying right this instance!” he suddenly bellowed and caused the girls to jump in fright. “Stop crying! Clear away those tears!”
“Y-You’re speaking like that after making me, a girl cry?” the Demon Slayer asked in a sad voice.
“I’m sorry, but I’m currently speaking to the Demon Slayer, a Sacred Spirit that’s stupidly attempting to end its life as if there’s no tomorrow! Honestly, that’s just plain stupid! To make matters worse, you’re only doing this because of a stupid failure a hundred years ago as if that’s worse thing you’ve ever done!”
She looked surprised by his words and asked “Y-You… How do you know that…?”
“I heard it from a ghost called Spectra! Seriously! When she told me you wanted to end your life, I wondered if you knew what ‘common sense’ meant because I felt you lacked it! People, around the world, are trying their hardest to live, yet here’s someone that’s trying to die over something that’s really silly! Sure, some can argue that I lacked common sense for a thirteen year old, but who cares about crap like perverted-ness, prideful-ness and the annoying ego that one develops with as much caliber as me? That reminds me, if anyone dares to test me by bringing up that nonsense, I’m going to string them up by their tongues!”
“Um… I don’t mean to be rude, but who exactly are you saying that to?” Tetra asked him curiously from behind.
Lakshman looked over his shoulder and said, “To anyone that’s listening to me, right now, because I’m really and seriously annoyed about it! Seriously! It was for my development and I appreciate what the Decisive Player did for me, but anyone mocking his sacrifice will get a Phoenix Burst Fist in their gut!”
“Uh… Okay,” Tetra said apprehensively as he turned back to look at the Demon Slayer.
“Y-You knew… Spectra?” the Demon Slayer said asked slowly in disbelief.
Lakshman nodded and said “Oh, yes! I spent two months in a room haunted by that, who is supposedly your previous master, as far as you can remember, right? It seems you failed in being alert and it led to her death due to ‘certain’ event. After that, you became angry and went underground to spend your time in isolation while ignoring her pleas find yourself another master!”
The Demon Slayer looked astonished by the information that he possessed. He naturally would, considering how friendly he and Spectra became over the two months that he stayed in that room with her during his stay at Astral Academy.
Lakshman looked at her with a serious expression on his face as he said “Now, the only people who can convince you into understanding will be her! I’ll bring her here! I’ll make you talk to her and you will only listen only to her because I’m not in the mood to force you into submission. Plus, my girlfriends won’t be pleased with me if I force a girl to do something she doesn’t want to do.”
“We certainly won’t be pleased if you did that!” Venezuela said fiercely from behind him and the other girls nodded in agreement with her words while wearing serious expressions on their faces.
The Demon Slayer glanced at her as he gestured to her behind his back as he said, “See. My girlfriends can be a handful if that happened, which I’m not going to take. That’s why, I am now initiating my final plan, Phase C!”
Without another word, he lifted his right hand and aimed to the right of him while still facing the Demon Slayer. He gathered energy there as he prepared to activate a spell with a specific purpose in mind for it.
“Spirit Connect: Spectra!” he said loudly and clearly.
As soon as he finished speaking, he shot a white ball of light out of the open palm of his hand. It flew a few meters before stopping in mid-air and expanded to create some sort of portal. This was a portal that connected the Spirit Plane and its end point was his room in Astral Academy.
“Spectra! I need you to come through the portal and speak to the Demon Slayer because she’s too stupid and idiotic to listen to me, please!” he said loudly as the portal created a w opening for a spirit to come through.