A few days later, Lakshman’s wives woke up and they were very confused to find themselves in an empty building. Upon seeing them wake up, the guards quickly alerted Sumara Manjuvad and she arrived to see them.
“Hello! I’m glad to see you’ve all woken up because you’ve been asleep for over a week!” she said to them while wearing a bright smile on her face.
She spoke to them using the Human Language so that they could understand her. The rest of her village people speak in the Demon Language, so it gave her an advantage when it comes to communicating with other races. Races such as the Angels, Demi-humans and the Dragon Clan use the Human Language to communicate while most other races speak in their native language. So far, she is capable of speaking in the Demon Language, Human Language, Spirit Language and Beast Language.
“Huh?” Venezuela said in a surprised voice and her expression was mirrored in all of their faces. “We’ve been sleeping well over a week?”
“That’s right and I was beginning to worry something might’ve happened to you mentally.”
“Hey… Was that just sarcasm or was it meant to be rude?” Venezuela asked through narrowed eyes.
“Not at all. I was just stating how worried I was about your wellbeing,” Sumara said honestly.
While Venezuela stared at her suspiciously, Ondine looked towards Sumara for the first time. All that time, she had been gazing around the room with bleary eyes, which were tired from sleeping so long. At first, she narrowed her eyes and scrutinised Sumara before widened her eyes in surprise. She quickly rubbed her eyes to clear the blurriness and when she got a clear look at Sumara, Ondine let out a voice of joy.
“Sumara Manjuvad!” Odnine had said joyfully.
Upon hearing that name, Tetra also rubbed her eyes to clearly look at who their saviour was. Recognising who it was, she quickly said, “Sumara!”
“Hello, Ondine. It’s good to see you’re full of energy as usual,” Sumara said with a small smile on her face. “Also, I’m glad to see you’re in good health!”
“Eh? Eh?” Erza said in a surprised voice as she looked between Ondine and Tetra. “Do you two know her?”
Sumara cleared her throat importantly and said, “Let me introduce myself. I’m Sumara Manjuvad, a King ranked magician and I happened to be the magic tutor of Lakshman Chand when he was still a kid.”
“Lucky’s magic tutor…?” Silvera asked curiously with a puzzled expression on her face.
“You were his tutor?” Venezuela asked and her eyes widened in amazement.
“Yeah, she was!” Ondine said immediately, forestalling Sumara from talking. “She was his magic tutor by the time I became his Slave Spirit and we happened to get along nicely.”
“Hmm…? Last time I checked, you were rather guarded whenever you were with me…” Sumara said through narrowed eyes.
“W-Well…” Ondine began hesitantly. “The Spirit Race have deep hatred towards the Demon Race, but I sort of got to know you better and found that there are different types of demons that can be trusted. So, now I feel a little more comfortable in trusting the Manjuvad Demon Clan.”
“Yes and I remember you and Tetra often squabbling with each other like little kids!” Sumara said as she formed a grin on her face.
“W-Well…” Ondine began and she turned to make eyecontact with Tetra.
“Things happened back then…” Tetra finished with a wide grin on her face.
“So… Should we take that positively or negatively?” Erza asked them with a smile on her face.
“More importantly, apart from what Tetra has to say, should we trust what Ondine has to say?” Silvera asked curiously.
“Y-You don’t trust my judgement?!” Ondine asked as she looked at them in dismay.
“Well… We’ve known you for a while and apart from your recklessness, you’re also crazy in certain ways. So, it’s a little bit difficult to take your word for it,” Silvera said slowly and caused Ondine to glare at her.
“Now, now…” Tetra said as she raised her hands to hold them back.
Cantia, who was in her humanoid cat form, raised her hand into the air and cheerfully said, “I trust you-nyaa!”
“Eh?!” Venezuela and Erza turned to her in surprise.
“You trust her, Cantia?” Venezuela asked carefully and Cantia nodded energetically.
“Indeed-nyaa! She was master’s home tutor and I can vouch for that-nyaa! I watched her on several occasions teaching Lucky magic-nyaa!”
“Hmm? You watched me teach him? However, I don’t believe I remember seeing you anywhere before…?” Sumara asked her curiously.
Cantia patted herself on the chest and said, “That’s because I was in my cat form-nyaa!”
“Oh…! So, you were that cat Lucky healed using his very first magic spell…!” Sumara said as she finally connected Cantia to the injured cat from so long ago. “Now, it makes perfect sense!”
“I trust her as well,” Emilia said and Venezuela looked at her incredulously.
“You too? Don’t tell me you have a connection to her as well?” Venezuela asked her in disbelief.
“Don’t be silly. I spent most of my days as a slave form when I was just a kid, so there’s no way I could’ve known her at all,” Emilia told her in a stern voice. “No. I just have this strange feeling that I should trust her. Besides, she’s helped us recover from whatever state we were in when she and her village people found us.”
“I can understand that, but it could all be a trick!” Venezuela said in a worried voice. “They healed us so that we will be indebted to them and work for them the rest of our lives like slaves!”
This time, Emilia raised an eyebrow and appeared to be a little angry as she asked, “Like slaves, eh…?”
“Vena…” Erza said to her in a slow voice while looking at her unhappily.
Venezuela quickly realised her mistake with the slip of her tongue and she quickly apologised by saying, “Ah…! I’m sorry, Emilia! I didn’t mean any rudeness towards you, but I am just worried.”
Emilia shook her head slightly and said, “None taken, Vena. However, I believe you are being a little prodigious of her just because she’s from the Demon Race.”
“Ah…” said Venezuela shortly before she held her head down in shame.
Erza looked at Sumara and apologetically said, “I’m sorry that she spoke so rudely to you, but she often worries unnecessarily about a lot of things.”
“No, no! I quite understand all of it,” replied Sumara in a reassuring voice. “It is only natural to worry about the safety of you and your friends upon discovering you were all saved by the member of a Demon Race, such as myself.” She looked towards Venezuela and calmly said, “Please, raise your head. It does not suit the queen of Floria Kingdom to bow her head to someone like me.”
Venezuela looked up in surprise and she asked, “How do you know about that?”
“Rumours have spread ten-years-ago about you and the kingdom when Lakshman became king.”
“Oh…” Venezuela said and she nodded in understanding. Then, she found something strange in what Sumara said to her and she asked, “Wait! Ten-years-ago? What do you mean by that?”
“Yes. I was about to ask the same question,” Silvera said and they all looked intently at Sumara.
Sumara saw all of their eyes focused on her, which made her sigh heavily. She finally told them it had been ten years since they disappeared and reappeared. The seven girls had mixed reactions upon receiving such shocking news. The jaws of Ondine and Cantia hung open in shock as their eyes widened to form large circles. Tetra, Silvera and Erza looked at each other in amazement before looking back at her. Only Emilia seemed to be calm, but her eyes narrowed and became serious.
Only Venezuela was utterly shocked by the news and she exclaimed, “What?! Ten years? Are you serious?!”
“I cannot joke in this situation,” replied Sumara in a flat voice as she looked at her without any expression on her face.
“O-Oh…” Venezuela said in a surprised voice seeing the expressionless face of Sumara Manjuvad.
It took the girls almost a minute to accept the fact they had been asleep for ten years and that was when Sumara informed them about the thing Lakshman told her a few days back when he woke up. At first surprised, the girls quickly accepted it as the only possible explanation, never knowing that it was a lie that Lakshman made up to not appear foolish in front of Sumara.
“So, how is Lucky? I mean, Lakshman,” Emilia asked her finally once they all settled down.
“It’s alright to call him ‘Lucky’ since he, along with you, were fairly lucky to escape from the Calamity Titan’s deadly attack,” she told them and the girls sighed heavily. “Anyway, he is doing fine, but he’s fast asleep right now. Unlike you, his body is slow in healing itself because of the Frozen Time barrier thing.”
“Yeah. That makes sense and the moment he came out, he fought against monsters. Naturally, his residual energy is taking time recovering from being stuck inside the barrier for ten years. Besides, unlike the rest of us, he was badly wounded before being locked inside the barrier, so it’s only natural that he’s in that state,” Emilia said in an understanding voice as she nodded her head.
Sumara blinked in surprise at her explanation and keenly asked her, “Did you perhaps study extensively in the Force?”
Emilia looked up at her and said, “Well, I had to focus on learning the Force and some of its variations with the Magic Force to better understand the flow of energy. This allowed me to advance my skills further in the amplification section and I was able to master the Invigorative Fortitude technique.”
“Ah! You must mean the Emperor ranked Amplify Magic Spell that strengthens the caster’s magic and mind, which allows them to use their magic spells in a complex manner than they normally could,” Sumara said and Emilia nodded in understanding.
“That’s right. However, I am unable to retain that form for only about five minutes. It is a difficult talk to use the complex ways of the magic along with concentrating my energy on keeping the form together,” Emilia said drily and Sumara chuckled.
“I know what you mean. It really is a difficult spell to keep together if you aren’t at the required rank.”
“Did you perhaps try using it often?”
“Yes. It was the only Emperor ranked spell that I focused on learning out of the rest that were available. However, I was able to master it only long enough to fire several attack spells and heal several more times before it wears out. If I had to put it into numbers, I’d say it would last around ten minutes.”
“Ah. That’s double the amount of time it lasts for me. You must’ve worked really hard to achieve that,” Emilia said in an impressed voice.
“I did my best,” Sumara said and two of them began talking to one another excitedly as Sumara walked over to sit on the side of her bed.
As they talked, the other girls watched them converse with smiles on their faces.
“Looks like Emilia’s found a friend in Sumara,” Erza said and Venezuela nodded in agreement.
“She sure has and she seems to be enjoying more talking to her than with us,” Silvera said in amusement as she watched the two women talk animatedly about the magic studies they both did.
“Well, it’s better than quietly staying alone in the kitchen and constantly cooking,” Tetra said and Cantia nodded in agreement with a wide grin on her face.
Only Ondine did not look totally happy and she dully asked, “What’s so interesting about talking magical subjects and such?”
“They are boring to you because you’re a hot headed warrior,” Tetra said before she turned to grin at Ondine.
“What?!” Ondine exclaimed and the girls began teasing her about all the reckless actions she performed during their time together at Astral Academy.
That afternoon, the village had a visitor, but he was nothing like the usual merchants that come there to hire the men for work. This one was a humanoid insect type man walking on two feet with a long sharp looking tail coming out of the back of his waist. On his head, he had three insect like eyes on each side of his face and he often let out steams through what looked like funnels on his face. His body was crystal blue that seemed to shine slight in the sun and he had three arms on each side of his body.
The Manjuvad Demon Clan people saw him and the moment that they did, they dropped whatever they were doing and immediately retreated into the shelters of their homes. He was one of the few powerful warriors living there and they knew of his strength, which was why they did not want to get in his way. He did not interest in them either as he turned his head each side as if he was searching for something or someone.
When he arrived at the village square, he inhaled deeply and shouted, “Manjuvad Elder-hai! Get over here-hai!”
The shout was loud and rough from his voice being strangely growly. The elder, who had been talking to some of the men about the work they recently received, immediately jumped to his feet in panic. He recognised the owner of the voice and grabbing his staff, he hastily hurried over to the town’s square to greet him. All the men of Manjuvad Demon Clan were over 175cm tall, but the insect like man looked like a giant when the elder came up to speak with him.
“Y-Yes! I’m here now!” said the elder, a little breathlessly from having to run so quickly to get there.
The insect man tapped the ground with his large leg impatiently and said, “What were you doing-hai? Napping-hai?”
“N-No…! I was just doing something else,” the elder replied instantly. “So, what brings you here, sir Insekmund?”
“I came to speak about the recent events about some of the Sliquadets getting killed-hai. Mind explaining yourself-hai?”
“Ah… Well, you see—!” the elder began hesitantly, but he was interrupted by a voice from the side.
“We fought them and killed them because they were killing our people!” said the voice of Sumara as she walked towards them from the building, where Lakshman’s wives were.
“Hai… It’s you, miss…” said Insekmund in an unhappy voice.
The girls gathered near the door and watched with surprised expressions on their faces as Sumara left them to go speak with him.
“Um… Isn’t that one from of the Insektand Demon Clan?” Ondine asked curiously and the girls nodded in confirmation.
“Yeah, but what’s he doing here? I thought he and his clan were located mainly in the Demon Continent,” Erza said with a perplexed expression on her face.
“They must’ve moved or something during these ten years,” Venezuela said heavily. “Just goes to prove that we’ve really spent two years sleeping.”
“Anyway-nyaa… I sense trouble in the air-nyaa… Should we help-nyaa?” Cantia asked them eagerly.
Ondine nodded approvingly, but Emilia shook her head and said, “Let’s just see what happens and then decide whether we have the right to interfere in this matter or not.”
“Okay-nyaa!” Cantia said happily and they all fell silent to listen to the conversation of Sumara and Insekmund.
“So, it was your doing-hai, killing the monsters I sent to attack your people for your mistake—!”
“What?! You made them attack us? Why?!” she demanded angrily.
“Your monthly supply of food and such to my master have dropped considerably-hai. So, master ordered me to attack you and scare some sense into you-hai,” Insekmund said in a flat voice.
“T-That’s harsh, sir… Our supply of resources are only enough to feed the village and not enough to make the necessary alcohol that your master likes…” the elder said weakly.
“You talking back to me-hai?” Insekmund asked in a threatening voice.
The elder appeared to be panicked, but Sumara did not get affected by his tone. Instead, she was glaring at him angrily through narrowed eyes.
“Look here, Insekmund. If we had the supplies, we would’ve generated more of the stuff your master so desires, but it’s not the season. Don’t blame us for a mistake that we had no hand in or in fact, blame his stupidity in drinking all of it without proper planning.”
“You dare to call my master… stupid-hai?!” Insekmund said and he sounded very angry.
“Don’t you dare lay a hand on her?”
At that moment, two men of Sumara’s village arrived with spears in their hands to do battle. These were the energised spears that they all bought a while ago from the shops in town and now the men looked serious to do battle against Insekmund. The insect man slowly turned to look at them, although the expression was difficult to read because of his insect face.
“You want to fight me-hai? Do your best,” Insekmund said casually, almost sounding arrogant.
The men quickly gathered Weapon Force into their spears and charged towards him. They were surprised when he suddenly disappeared from right in front of them before reappearing behind them. Sumara tried warning them, but it was too late for it. Insekmund immediately acted by piercing the two men with his claw like hands before lifting them into the air, banging them into each other and finally tossed them over his head to the back. The men came to a crashing stop with deep wounds in their bodies and they moaned from the pain.
“Pathetic weaklings-hai…” Insekmund said disparagingly before blowing out a large cloud of smoke.
“You…! How could you hurt them?” Sumara demanded angrily before she rushed over to start healing the wounded men.
“It’s their fault they picked a fight with me, Sumara-hai,” Insekmund told her with a shrug of his large shoulders. “Now, make sure to take note of what will happen to anyone that dares to fight me-hai! This land belongs to master and all you that lived here are his subjects-hai! If you don’t obey, he will unleash the Sliquadet straight into your village and then there’s be no one left-hai!”
The watching crowd of onlookers became frightened by his words and they shrunk back when he looked around at them all. He saw the clear sign of fear in their eyes and he believed the matter was finished. However, there was still someone who had an objection to what he said earlier.
“I don’t believe people are slaves to anyone, but choose to serve them by choice,” said a voice from nearby.
Everyone turned their heads to look towards the direction the voice came from to see Lakshman Chand standing there. He was leaning on a large stick to balance himself due to his body not completely recovered from the energy imbalances.
“Oh-hai. Who might you be-hai?” Insekmund asked curiously as he turned to face him.
“H-He’s one of the people the monsters wounded a while back,” Sumara said a little nervously as she told a lie to protect Lakshman’s identity.
“A wounded person-hai?” Insekmund asked and he looked Lakshman up and down before speaking again. “You should know that these people are not slaves, but subjects to the will of my master, who owns this land and all who live in it-hai!”
“So? That just makes it look even more like slavery or should I say, dictatorship?” Lakshman asked with a small smile on his face.
“Hai… I don’t need to listen to the words of a blood freak human-hai,” Insekmund said disinterestedly.
Lakshman sighed and said, “Ha… I was having a wonderful nap when I sensed trouble outside. I recovered from my injuries enough to walk on my own with this thing supporting me. However, what I found outside was a large insect like man talking in the Demon Language to the elder and Sumara. Really…”
He sighed deeply before looking seriously at Insekmund and said, “Hey… Uh… Insect man! Go back to your master and inform him that he may own the land, but he does not own the lives of these people here. They can live freely wherever they want so long as they pay the necessary requirement to stay in borrowed land. Make sure to tell him that?”
“Hai…?” Insekmund said incredulously when he heard those words. “You dare to speak in such a manner?”
“I dare became I can. You think you can stop me? Mmm? I will force this matter home if I have to! You are warned!” Lakshman told him in a warning voice.
The listening people gasped in shock and horror because of those warning words. The elder looked wildly at him in shock and he quickly turned to look at Sumara. She was equally as shocked as him, however she did not know what to do to intervene. Insekmund slowly walked towards him and stood facing Lakshman, who was a several centimetres shorter than the insect man.
“You’re a dead man-hai…!” Insekmund replied in a low growling voice as he radiated dark energy in anger.
“Lucky needs our help!” Ondine said and she attempted to put her swords out, only realising they were not there. “Huh? My swords are gone!”
“They were put aside with the rest of our weapons and anyway, you won’t need it. Lucky doesn’t need our assistance,” Erza said coolly as she watched him and the insect man standing in front of each other.
“Yeah-nyaa…! Lucky might be a little weaker than before due to the injury, but his energy’s beginning to rise-nyaa. He’s in battle mode-nyaa!” Cantia said excitedly and the rest of the girls nodded in agreement.
Ondine focused her senses and she also realised this, which made her eyes widen in surprise. He was indeed getting stronger as he prepared for a fight, but Insekmund lacked the skill needed to sense the power level of someone. Like all the Insektand Demon Clan people, Insekmund fought with his six arms, bare handed against all opponents. Although he lacked magic skills, he was very fast and he often landed the first attack before anyone else.
For a moment, he and Lakshman looked at each other silently while everyone watched with bated breaths. Insekmund made the first move and he attempted to blast Lakshman aside by the back of his left hand. As the hand came sailing towards the side of him, Lakshman simply raised his left finger and stopped it in its tracks. Insekmund was taken by surprise and he quickly used one of the three left arms to whack Lakshman from the side, but this also was stopped when Lakshman raised his right finger to stop it.
“W-What… is… this… hai?!” Insekmund asked in a slow shocked voice as he struggled to push his large hands forward to strike at his opponent.
Lakshman quickly reacted and he grabbed his enemy’s arms before twisting them around, causing the insect man to cry out in pain. As his arms were in a twisted condition, Insekmund immediately used his the bottom of his to lash out and strike Lakshman in the gut. Startled by this attack, Lakshman lost his balance and he fell over, still twisting his enemy’s arms with his own hands.
Insekmund attempted to use his top arms to land two powerful punches to Lakshman’s face, but the plan was thwarted when Lakshman used great force to pull Insekmund forward before kicking him in the chest before letting go of his hands. The impact from the kick was so strong, it sent Insekmund sailing backwards to some distance before he landed back on his feet, clutching his arms in pain. Lakshman law there on the ground for a moment, but he quickly rolled himself backwards and with great flexibility, he launched himself into the air and onto his feet.
As his enemy recovered to take on a fighting position, Lakshman also did the same as he fiercely glared at his enemy.
“I may be injured… I may be wounded… I may be in a weakened state… However, that is not enough to let me get defeated by a rough nut thug like you…!” Lakshman said fiercely to his enemy.
“You will regret those words-hai!” Insekmund shouted angrily at him and the two warriors prepared to do battle.