Everyone was in the dining room. They sat on chairs behind the dining table and they ate the food from their plates. Rasha was feeding the cheerful Sasha with a happy smile. Lakshman, Ondine, Sumara and Mariana ate in silence, but occasionally threw glances towards the other end of the table.
At the other end of the table sat Ondine, Indra and Lakshmi.They were eating silently, but Lakshmi glared constantly glared at them. Felix and Indra wore an unconformable expression on their faces as they ate their breakfast.
“Lakshmi… please, stop glaring at us like that,” Indra finally said, unable to bear it anymore.
“Yes Lakshmi,” Felix said, nodding at Indra’s words. “You’re making our food go bad.”
“What?!” Lakshmi said angrily. “Are you calling me a devil?!”
“No, no, no!” Felix quickly responded and waved his hands at her. “We’re not calling you anything. It’s just that… it feels uncomfortable to eat while you glare at us like that.”
“And whose fault is it that I’m in such a bad mood?” she asked while staring at them with narrowed eyes.
“Um… well…” Felix said hesitantly.
“On top of that, I’m feeling tired because someone was being very annoying early in the morning,” she said with contempt. “Don’t you guys care about your surroundings?”
“Don’t look at me!” Indra said quickly and pointed at Felix. “He’s the moron who wouldn’t shut up at being loud.”
“And? What do you have for your defence?” Lakshmi asked, turning her gaze towards her husband.
“I… I wasn’t talking loudly,” he muttered, avoiding her gaze.
“Yes you weren’t, but you didn’t try to shut him up either!” she said angrily, gesturing at Felix.
“I tried, but… you know… he didn’t listen to me,” Indra said defensively.
“Then shout in his ear if that’s what it takes to make him listen!” Lakshmi exclaimed angrily.
Felix looked hurt as he faced them.
“I’m sorry Lakshmi,” Felix said apologetically. “I guess my excitement seems to always make me get carried away.”
As he finished, he laughed easily as if to let it go. Lakshmi shook her head wearily.
“I can’t believe you are the Phoenix Emperor that rules the Phoenix Clan, the guardians who keep peace between the races,” she said wearily.
Felix continued to laugh and she shook her head in disdain. Watching them, Rasha suddenly started laughing. They turned to look at her in surprise.
“What’s so funny, Rasha?” Lakshmi asked.
“Well, watching you lecture those two reminded me of the days we adventured together,” Rasha said, grinning broadly.
“Oh…” Lakshmi said in surprise. “I guess it does… anyway! Back then we were young and immature. Now we’ve grown in mature adults, but this idiot still continues to act childish…”
“Let it go Lakshmi,” Rasha said with a smile. “He only behaves when he is on duty. He is just like your husband when off duty. Besides, it’s fun when he behaves like a kid. I feel like treating him to some candy.”
“Hey! Rasha! You’re offending me!” Felix said indignantly and Rasha laughed some more.
“Oh, I’m sorry Felix,” Rasha said, acting as if she was sad. “Come here. I’ll pat you for being cool.”
“Ah, stop that,” Felix said, although he was smiling.
Lakshmi sighed and she stood up with her plate in hand.
“Maybe it is fun for you Rasha, but I get headaches from such childish behaviour,” she said.
With that, Lakshmi exited the dining room. They watched her leave with worried looks on their faces. Seeing her go, Mariana lets out a sigh and turned to face Felix and Indra, wearing a serious expression on her face.
“Master and Sir Felix,” she began. “Please be careful around madam. Her constitution will get affected if she gets upset too often. Please remember that she is pregnant and it will become critical for her if her health fails.”
“I know, don’t nag,” Indra said, looking displeased by her words.
Then he realised a glare and he turned to find Mariana staring at him seriously with narrowed eyes. In that instant, he thought he saw a glint in her eyes. Whenever that happened, he knew it did not mean good to him.
“I’m sorry!” he quickly said. “I mean, I’m glad you reminded me. Thanks! I will watch myself. Won’t you do the same, Felix?”
“Ah… yeah! I-I’ll be careful!” Felix said hastily, staring in surprise at Mariana’s expression.
She looked at them for another few seconds with narrowed eyes. Then she returned to her food and continued eating calmly. Seeing her return to eating, both Indra and Felix sighed inwardly.
“You sure made one big blunder,” Rasha said to them. “To make the lady of the house annoyed first thing in the morning. I think you guys deserve a shared prize in the Number One Lady Annoyer award!”
“Ah come on,” Felix said. “It’s this numbskull fault that didn’t know that Lakshmi was pregnant!
“Not a good excuse,” Rasha said in dissatisfaction. “You shouldn’t be so loud early in the morning in the first place.”
“Uh… I… Okay… I guess that’s true,” Felix said in a defeated voice.
For a few seconds, they remained silent. Then he lifted his head and looked sharply at Indra.
“I still can’t believe you didn’t bother to inform me, your best friend, that your wife was pregnant!” Felix said in annoyance. “Would it have hurt you to write a letter?”
Lakshman chuckled as he answered Felix.
“Sorry Felix. I was pretty much busy with work so I forgot to write you a letter. Then, you dropped by out of the blue so I assumed you came because she was pregnant,” he said and he smiled at him.
“Yeah right!” Felix scoffed.
“On top of that, I was pretty bogged down being on the receiving end of all of your annoying compliments yesterday,” Indra said and he suddenly glared at Felix in frustration. “Why didn’t you think of saving me, your best friend?”
“Ah. Well… It was your fault for doing those things back then, Master of the Ladies!” Felix said after hesitating a bit.
“Ah, give me a break!” Indra said in frustration. “I was immature back then. You know… youthful energy.”
“Right,” Felix said. “Now I wonder if Lakshman will follow in your footsteps.”
“Hey! My son may have similar physique to me, but he has his mother’s mentality!” Indra retorted as he glared at Felix.
“I wonder…” Felix said in a wondering voice.
“I’ll prove it!” Indra said firmly.
He turned around and faced Lakshman seated beside him.
“Lakshman, what are girls?” he asked him with a serious expression.
Lakshman paused in his eating and looked at his father’s serious expression. He blinked several times before replying.
“Girls are a gender type with long hair that gets fat before giving birth to babies. Oh right, they also stay home and work at cleaning and cooking, right?”
Indra’s eyes widened at his son’s words. Felix and Rasha stared at Lakshman with unbelievable expressions on their faces. Ondine had her eyes wide as she turned to stare at him with her mouth hanging slightly.
“Um… Is something wrong?” Lakshman asked, puzzled by their reaction.
“Ah… no, not really, but… that’s a really simplistic view of a girl…” Indra said as if he did not know what else to say.
“Young master is not at the age to learn those things, master,” Mariana said and she flashed her eyes at him as if to say ‘I won’t let you corrupt him.’
“I got it, I got it!” Indra said hastily, but he suddenly chuckled as he said “At-least I know, my son is heading in a direction different from my own.”
“You have the wrong influence when you were a kid,” Felix said with a slight grin on his face.
“Makes sense why he turned out to be such a girl hitting moron!” Rasha added with a smile.
“Quit it!” Indra snapped at them, looking annoyed.
After a while, everyone was done with breakfast. They relaxed on their chairs as Mariana collected the empty plates and headed into the kitchen. Then they heard the loud voice of Lakshmi talking rudely about her husband, his friend and men in general. Indra sighed when he heard that.
“Looks like you got some consoling to do,” Felix said to Indra, listening to her loud voice.
“I know, but stop eavesdropping on private matters,” Indra said with a heavy sigh.
“I don’t think this is a private matter, especially when she is energetically bad mouthing about you, me and men in general.”
“Geez…” Indra said and he sighed once more. “So then, what are your plans today?”
“Plans?” Felix said and he made a face as he thought about it. “Let’s see… I intended to go out and meet some people.”
“Oh. Then, I’ll accompany you,” Indra said, but Felix shook his head with a slight smile on his face.
“No Indra. You should stay home and console your wife. Remember, it’s the husbands role to cheer up their beloved wife when she is in a bad mood,” Felix said and he grinned at him.
“Ah!” Indra said at the sudden realisation.
“You have a really lovely wife. I must say, she is lovelier than me,” Rasha said, looking at him with an annoyed expression on her face. “There are very few girls around like her. So, don’t blow it by being an idiot!”
“Ah geez…” he said, looking embarrassed. “I got it! I admit my wife is lovely! It’s that reason I love her after all! So, satisfied now?”
Rasha nodded in satisfaction and she smiled as she looked in the direction of the kitchen.
“I guess it’s up to me now, but… do you know where you will be meeting them?” Indra asked Felix.
“Well, I don’t quite know the area yet,” Felix said with a slight smile. “So, I tended to borrow Lakshman for a while as my guide. You have no objections, right?”
“No, I don’t,” Indra said and he turned Lakshman. “Lakshman, would you mind accompanying Felix around for a while?”
“That’s fine dad,” Lakshman said with a smiling face.
“Good!” Indra said in satisfaction. “Looks like, you’ve got an escort.”
“Alright then,” Felix said with a smile.
Felix walked around the table to Lakshman and extended his right hand out.
“Let’s work together,” he said with a wink.
“Sure,” Lakshman said with a smile.
He grasped Felix’s hand and they shook.
An hour later, they were outside walking along the road. The sun beat down on them, but the warmth did not reach the people. They saw people with coats and furs waling by to protect themselves from the cold.
“I can understand the Water Spirit not feeling the cold, but you surprise me Lakshman,” Felix said.
“Dad, mum and everybody else said the same thing,” Lakshman said. “Is it a problem not to feel the cold?”
“No, but most people will find you strange,” Felix said with a smile.
“If they find master, I’ll just beat them up!” Ondine said.
Felix looked at her in surprise and smiled slightly as he said “Please hold back on the violence. I don’t think your master will be happy if you do that.”
To his words, Lakshman nodded in consent and Ondine made a “Che” sound with her mouth. It looked as if they took away a very sweet treat from her.
They walked in silence for some time. Lakshman finally broke the silence.
“Call me Felix, Lakshman,” Felix said with a smile. “I like being called Felix when I’m off duty.”
“Ah, okay. Then, call me Lucky,” Lakshman said cheerfully. “Everyone calls me that. Well, everyone except Ondine that is.”
“That’s because you are not lucky!” Ondine said firmly with a serious expression on her face.
They laughed at her before turning back to face each other.
“No, not yet,” Felix said. “When you grow up into a competent warrior, I will consider calling you that. Until then, bear with being called by your name, okay?”
“Um… sure!” Lakshman said, looking slightly sad, but quickly cheered up with a grin on his face.
“Good,” Felix said as he grinned. “Now then, you were about to ask me a question?”
“Ah yes Felix,” Lakshman said with a nod of his head. “I wasgoing to ask you were we should be going.”
“Oh, that’s easy,” Felix said brightly. “I don’t know.”